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NEW DELHI :

Tired of seeing the same old green dustbins with garbage spilled all around them in public spaces? Here’s a fresh take: Eight of these receptacles of rubbish near Mohammed Shah’s Tomb in Lodi Gardens, Delhi, have actually been used as canvases for public art. Blue and orange butterflies chase each other across the white background of one; another shows a dog sniffing plants.

Yogesh Saini, a regular jogger at the gardens and founder of the Delhi Street Art initiative, got the idea when he saw the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) was replacing old dustbins there with new ones that looked exactly the same. “The Lodi Gardens is beautiful as a nature park; I kept thinking it could be more. The replacement bins they started putting in four-five months back weren’t more modern," he says.

So, Saini pulled out his iPhone 4S and took some pictures of the trash cans. At home, he photoshopped digital art on to the bins to build a portfolio of “before" and “after" pictures. Then he looked up the NDMC website for phone numbers of authorities in-charge of maintaining the gardens.

Saini got approval from NDMC welfare and project department director O.P. Mishra to let him, along with a bunch of artists and amateurs, paint the dustbins. The artists brought their own materials, and worked for free.

Saini says, “We must have done something right. The NDMC has asked us to come back this weekend and paint more bins."

Nishat Rehman, one of five artists who participated in the event last weekend, says the experience was gratifying for her because “as an artist, it’s great to know that your work is seen and appreciated every day".

“Delhi has great monuments, and some great art confined in private and museum collections. It doesn’t have much of public art. We had thought the Commonwealth Games would change that, but it didn’t happen," says Saini. He hopes to change all that.

The artists will meet at the Mohammed Shah’s Tomb, Lodi Gardens, Delhi, at 7am on 21 September. To participate, call 9911037729 or leave a message on www.facebook.com/delhistart.

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