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Green Graffiti, a work by French artist Jonathan Longuet.
Green Graffiti, a work by French artist Jonathan Longuet.

When East meets West

Seventeen artists from six countries are exhibiting street art, paintings, installations and videos at an ongoing art festival

French artist Jonathan Longuet came to India for the first time in February last year for his solo show, Jungle Me, at the Niv Art Centre in Neb Sarai, New Delhi. He worked with algae to create green graffiti on canvases and walls. His paintings, like the “living" paint he uses to make them, have been growing slowly.

The success of his living canvases prompted him and Shaji Mathew, director of the Niv Art Centre, to extend their collaboration and launch the East-West Art Festival—an international festival aimed at discovering an alternative view of society through the eyes of next-generation artists. Organized in collaboration with non-profit organization Painting-Bordeaux, with whom Longuet works in France, the festival has 17 artists from six countries (France, Germany, Afghanistan, South Korea, Japan and India) taking part in its first edition, which opened on Thursday.

Longuet, who is also the programme curator, is showcasing his green graffiti at the festival. “Art is no longer stationary. It is interactive and challenging. I developed my own artistic technique to use algae, which is a kind of green moss, as paint. I harvested all the algae I could from Neb Sarai and used it to create green graffiti," he says.

See: Afghan artist Hanifa Alizada will showcase photographs and videos of her extraordinary journey through Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan in Before Our Own Eyes, at the Niv Art Centre from 28 March-12 April.

Japanese artist Ema Kawanago and visual artist Koustav Nag from New Delhi will present Mind The Gap at The Japan Foundation from 20 March-4 April. Together, they will explore two different Asian societies through similar mediums of expression—video, photography and installation.

On 24 March, Korean artist Narae Jin will invite the audience to reflect on the dramaturgy in society through video projections and a dance performance in Dramascope, to be held at the Korean Cultural Centre. The show will be repeated at the Niv Art Centre on 28 March.

On 28 March, French artists Enora Lalet and Melodie Serena will present the Cooking Faces series, using real food to paint their own faces, at the Niv Art Centre. Joining them will be Bengaluru-based contemporary dancer Deepak Kurki Shivaswamy, who will present his latest show, Flesh.

Some of the artworks will also be sent to France for a series of exhibitions in Bordeaux, and Alizada's show will travel to Kabul later this year. Numerous artworks from the exhibitions will also be seen on the streets of the Capital—the huge paper-cutting by French artist Rouge, currently installed at Alliance Française, will adorn one of the buildings in Neb Sarai. And Longuet's Green Graffiti and street art group Monkey Bird’s anthropomorphic compositions will be put up on walls around Neb Sarai.

The East-West Art Festival is on till 12 April at Alliance Française, Lodi Estate; Japan Foundation, 5-A, Ring Road, Lajpat Nagar- IV; Korean Cultural Centre, 25-A, Ring Road, Lajpat Nagar-IV; and Niv Art Centre, Neb Sarai. For the schedule, visit Eastwestfestival.word For details, call 9811804811.

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