arts

Indian street artist Daku reveals graffiti powered by the sun

Updated 13th May 2016
Indian street artist Daku reveals graffiti powered by the sun
Written by Roshni Majumdar, CNN
In Delhi, one building now gleams with an off-beat piece of art -- but only when the sun shines. Drilled into a wall by local street artist Daku, the black-and-white mural features stylized words cut from semi-metallic sheets.
Designed to reflect life's changes, the new work rests on an intricate game of light and shadow. When the sun shines overhead, the metallic pieces cast shadows that reveal words. When the sun fades, so does the art.

Season, balance, order

Simple as it may seem, the mural took a lot of planning.
"It can get a little technical at times, but I have wanted to do it for two to three years," says Daku, which is the Hindi word for thief.
This light-sensitive mural, drilled into a New Delhi wall by Indian street artist 'Daku', is designed to change with the position of the sun.
This light-sensitive mural, drilled into a New Delhi wall by Indian street artist 'Daku', is designed to change with the position of the sun. Credit: Pranav Gohil
His vision was finally realized when the street art group St+Art Foundation, invited him to create his own work in one of India's largest public art districts.
With the help of simple online application tools like Google Maps and SketchUp, Daku studied the movement of the sun on his phone to calculate how the shadows would move over the letters.
"I had to decide the size of the letters, the length of the pieces, and the angle I could place them in so pedestrians could easily see it," he said.
Although it looks simple, the mural took a lot of technical planning to ensure the words captured the shadows as the sun moves.
Although it looks simple, the mural took a lot of technical planning to ensure the words captured the shadows as the sun moves. Credit: Pranav Gohil
Every word on the mural -- season, balance, order, past, present, future -- reflect time, motion and change, concepts which Daku says he often explores in his work.

Shadow art

Best seen at noon, the words drift on the shadows, leaping out one minute, and pulling away the next.
"You see different words every day. Every day brings a new change," he explains.
Daku drilled his art into the wall of a building in New Delhi's popular Lodhi Colony neighborhood.
Daku drilled his art into the wall of a building in New Delhi's popular Lodhi Colony neighborhood. Credit: Pranav Gohil
This is not the first time Daku, a fine arts graduate who only wants to be known by his street name, has had his work featured in New Delhi.
A fan of "guerrilla style art" and typography, he typically uses the city's walls to make bold statements and says he prefers to work in "illegal spaces."
Although this artwork may steal from the shadows, it's legally gracing an old building in Delhi's pedestrian friendly, Lodhi Colony neighborhood.
Just make sure to see it while the sun's out.