A cold foggy night, a bottle of your favourite tipple, a set of wheels—and you have a deadly mix. Winter Evening, a public art installation by Prince Singhal made using a wine bottle, screams a silent warning against drunken driving.
The piece is part of a travelling exhibition, None for the Road, which features the Delhi-based road safety activist’s works, aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of drunken driving. The artworks, which have been shown in Jaipur and Chandigarh, will be exhibited at the City Centre mall in Kolkata on 18-19 December, and will travel to Bangalore (Forum Mall, 21-22 December), Chennai (Citi Centre, 24-25 December), Hyderabad (City Mall, 27-28 December), Mumbai (Infinity Mall, 30-31 December) and Pune (Inorbit mall, 2-3 January) before returning to Delhi. In the Capital, the exhibition will be held at Dilli Haat from 5-9 January to coincide with the National Road Safety Week.
More than their artistic worth, the mixed media installations are important because of the message that rings loud and clear. The eerily disturbing works are inspired by Singhal’s first-hand experience of working in road safety for more than a decade and his encounters with victims of drunken driving. “My art is inspired by the magnitude of the drunken driving problem in India. It’s no less than a tragedy. The installations are a sincere effort to express my anguish over the insensitivity of people who drink and drive, either out of carelessness or ignorance,” says Singhal.
(From left) ; Death count; Drive out of bar. drive into bar and Winter evening are few of Singhal’s installation pieces.
SInghal founded Community Against Drunken Driving (Cadd) in 2001, soon after his first exposure to the problem, when he volunteered with Delhi Police during National Road Safety Week. Later, he gave up his day job as a corporate strategist to devote himself full time to Cadd.
He now plans to sell the works as well as a calendar with quirky posters to raise funds for the organization. Singhal hopes to raise Rs 15 lakh for next year.
Cadd works with state police departments and the Union government to ensure adherence to road safety regulations and promote responsible drinking among youth. With just five full-time employees, the organization depends on associates and volunteers for the success of its projects. It has tied up with pubs and bars across the country to spread awareness. “We have roped in bar managers for a national designated drivers project which advocates identifying one person in a group as the designated driver who is then asked to refrain from drinking that evening. Alternatively, we have tied up with local taxi stands, and the bar manager can call you a cab,” adds Singhal, who has directed two short films and written a book on the subject. He has also won the Red and White Bravery Award and Bharat Nirman award and was recently nominated as a member of the National Road Safety Council.
Art installation on liquor bottle by Prince Singhal.
Cadd also works with lawyers and psychologists to provide counselling to victims and families of road accident victims. “Earlier, we used to offer them monetary assistance, but that proved unsustainable. So we arrange for legal and psychological counselling to help them get back on their feet and file for claims.”