Polish born, and now Brooklyn based street artist, Olek, has been hard at work in the city of Delhi, India. Her signature work of crochet wrapping objects and buildings on the street has brought her around the world, and she has focused her work on many important issues regarding social and environmental justice. Olek’s project in Delhi is directed toward social inclusion and women’s empowerment. With a team of helpers (many local women who already crochet and follow Olek’s work), a local women’s shelter in New Delhi was fitted with a large crocheted cover. The shelter is one of almost 2oo in a city of 11 million, and provides a safe space for homeless women and families. The focus of her work was to raise awareness toward the social disparities of gender, class and caste. In an interview with Brooklyn Street Art about St+Art Delhi, organizer, Giulia Ambrogi, shared that:
“[…] Artworks in the streets is already a sort of revolution. Public spaces, especially if peripheral, are most of the time neglected and are crowded mostly by lower social classes. The process of creating huge artworks for everybody’s eyes and the attitude of the artists and the team of involving everyone and gathering people under the signs of art-making and artworks – which is absolutely new in India, is an empowering breakthrough or a certain kind. By calling women artists we enhanced this prolific dynamic. It meant that we introduced a change, showing both to men and women that no matter the gender and the class, everyone has the same strength and rights of living, appropriating and positively acting in public spaces. Olek’s work brings back tot he streets a tradition that is usually practice by women in the private and closed envirnment of their homes. Also, this work highlighted the power of people, especially women, when they cooperate together.”
Olek’s recent work in Delhi has been a part of the St+Art Delhi festival. The festival brings together Indian and international street artists for a month of murals, installations, performances, workshops, walks and talks on the streets. The objective is to promote street art and graffiti on Indian landscapes, as well as provide a collaborative platform for artists from all over the world.