GT #Murals is another step in continuing our journey of Graphic Travelogues. It is a project by the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi in partnership with the St-art India Foundation that seeks to capture, document, explore and encourage interactions between artists, while presenting their work in a public and safe space. Taking this journey to another dimension, we have invited one German and one Indian artist to collaboratively work on two murals – one in Chennai and one in Delhi, India.
Chennai is the second destination on the joint trip of Greta von Richthofen and Aashti Miller. In the south of the country they will participate in the Kannagi Nagar Festival and design the next wall there in March 2022.
Aashti Miller and Greta von Richthofen meet for the first time in New Delhi in February 2022. It is the start of their journey together. They get to know each other, get closer and discuss their artistic approach. They will realize their mural in the Lodhi Art District.
Fish Out of Water
Greta Von Richthofen and Aashti Miller
In collaboration with Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi
The Goethe-Institut has been working with artists from across the globe to create Graphic Travelogues, a digital platform dedicated to comics, focusing on the subject of travel since 2019.
Taking this journey to another dimension, Goethe-Institut and St+art launched an open call to invite one German and one Indian artist to collaboratively work on two murals – one here in Delhi’s Lodhi Art District and the other in Kannagi Art District, Chennai.
The selected artists, Greta Von Richthofen and Aashti Miller, were encouraged to work on thought-provoking ideas about the meaning of ‘travel’ from a broad lens.
During the unprecedented time of the pandemic, when physical travel and any kind of free movement was halted, they found themselves tucked away with their thoughts, and were transported to an ocean of imagination. Thus, the artists explore the idea of ‘traveling in the mind’ through these murals – seen as a journey that anyone can make, regardless of culture, background, or spatial limitations.
The flying and running fish, and birds playfully depict different ways of traveling: over water, in the air and on land. This journey seeks to emphasize the sense of discovery that traveling entails, relaying how crucial it is to cultivate inclusive and diverse perspectives – in order to have an enriching and meaningful experience of life at large. Therefore, from an expansive lens to a site-specific one, the artists include hyper-localised elements that become symbolic of this journey.
Depicting local flora and fauna, traditional and historical elements inspired by Mughal architecture, and fantastical creatures – the work further explores travel to one’s past, through a shared nostalgia. Similarly, in Chennai the artists make references to the city through a localised and engaging vocabulary.
The murals differ in color and motifs, but connect to one another by showcasing the positive power and immense possibilities of imagination and creativity, which enters the mind in Chennai and flows out of the hands in Delhi. This conceptual connection thus ‘travels’ across two diverse cities.
As we all recover and return to the new normal, we might be fish out of water, but Miller and Richthofen believe that their explorations have taught them to embrace this discomfort and translate it into a magical journey.
Aashti Miller is an architect by day and an illustrator by night. She was born and raised in Mumbai, and studied Architecture at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She constructs her drawings in an attempt to make sense of the unexpected collision of her two seemingly disparate worlds. As a result, her aesthetic and style have evolved into detailed drawings that tread the fine line between constructed and painted, digital and analog, two and three dimensional. Her work is heavily inspired by and explores spaces, places, and faces.
Greta von Richthofen
Greta von Richthofen studied visual communication in Hamburg and Kassel. The focus of her work is on documentary narratives and graphic novels. When she is not drawing on her comics, she loves to illustrate and occasionally does workshops and readings. Since 2019 Greta von Richthofen has been working as a freelance artist and author.
She is particularly interested in projects that allow experiments and take place in collaboration.
The mural already attracts the interest of the public during its creation.
Developing a work of art together with the Indian artist Aashti has been such an exciting process and through it, I have learned so much about India. Although we grew up and live in different countries, we have something in common - the joy of drawing - which we hope shines through in our murals!"
I applied for this project with St+art and Goethe because I felt that this would be a great opportunity to impact the public realm in a meaningful way. This is something most young architects like me dream of. Working with Greta has felt like creating with my better half! We are both so excited to see our drawings come to life."