New Delhi: The First Lady of France, Brigitte Macron, was recently spotted relishing the street art at Lodhi Colony area in New Delhi which was transformed into India’s first open art district as part of the St+art Festival in 2015. The St+art India foundation with the support of Asian Paints, CPWD, Bonjour India, Institute Francaise and The Embassy of France welcomed the First Lady.

The two-month long festival had brought together over 25 street artists from India and across the world to brighten the city with art interventions like murals, installations and more. Pierre Guyot, Sr. Architect, St+art, who conducted the special tour for the First Lady, said, “She was particularly moved by some powerful works like the Birds by Daleast and Original Aboriginal by Reko Rennie. Macron was also very impressed by the diversity of techniques used by artists that showed that street art was an artistic trend that went beyond graffiti. Furthermore, she was impressed by the creation of an open-air art museum that offers art in the most relatable and engaging manner.”

“The spirit of cultural exchange and collaboration that many pieces – for example ‘We Love Delhi’, a collaboration between the French duo Lek & Sowat and the Indian artist Hanif Kureshi – brings in Lodhi, is felt in every corner, giving an inspiring vibe of an environment which is both local and global.”

The visit also highlights the successful collaboration between St+art India Foundation and the French institutions in India (Embassy of France, Institute Francaise, Alliance Francaise), which recently culminated in four projects across Mumbai, Hyderabad, Calcutta and Chandigarh. The project, started in 2015 by St+art India Foundation, became a reality due to the collaborative efforts and unconditional support of Asian Paints, the Minister of Urban Development, CPWD, DUAC and over 20 Embassies and Institutes of Culture.

Lodhi Art District, being lauded as one of the premiere attractions in Delhi, was also visited by the family of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and was recognised by Hardeep Singh Puri, MoS (I/C) Housing and Urban Affairs, as an example of the new heritage for the Indian cultural landscape. The Minister along with the Delhi Urban Art Commission ( DUAC ) took Lodhi Art District as a case study for the Master Plans for Smart Cities in India.

Amit Syngle, COO, Asian Paints Ltd., said, “With the Lodhi Art District, we hope to add a bit of vibrancy to the city and uplift the moods, spirits and lives of the people. We wanted to take art to the masses and make it accessible to a wider range of viewers. The idea was to open spaces for dialogues, conversations and culture creation through the lens of the city.”

Arjun Bahl, Co-founder and Director, St+art India Foundation, said, “It was a great honour for the organisation to receive the First Lady of France at the Lodhi Art District for a specially-curated tour. Macron’s momentous visit reaffirms St+art’s strong partnership with the French Government in India and we hope to continue this partnership for many years to come.”

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