Source – Indian Express – By: Samira Bose
Said-ul-Ajaib until recently saw footfall because it hosts the Garden of Five Senses, within which fine-dining restaurants have laid siege. But now, the road ahead holds promise too. Khasra No 258 in Said-ul-Ajaib is a dirt path, accentuated by exposed bricks and faded black doorways. Vibrant graffiti on low walls read “Bond”. This street, which had a chicken shed before, is being transformed into a hub for designers and artists.
A shift from the high-rental Hauz Khas Village and Shahpur Jat, this urban village, near Saket in south Delhi, is now being seen as a “shell where artists can do whatever they want with the space”. Graphic designer Jiten Suchede and owner of artisanal chai retail Jugmug Thela was the first to arrive in this lane. It’s run down areas such as these that attract artists, he says, who not only seek respite from the more commercialised (and expensive) spaces but also recognise the potential of an-otherwise unassuming plot. Reminiscent of the post-Warhol bohemian shift of art studios to lofts and attics in cities like New York, places such as these are experiments in urban spaces, a risk artists are willing to take. Suchede says they want the space to experience an “organic transformation” rather than a commercial one, and in the same breathe he confesses that rents have increased by 50 per cent since last year.