Kajal Singh On How It Feels To Be One Of India’s First Woman Graffiti Artists
One of India’s first female graffiti artists, Kajal Singh is on a roll. The artist, who is in her early twenties, has her art laid out not just in India but in many countries.
The graffiti artist — who paints under the moniker Dizy — speaks to SheThePeople.TV about her childhood which she spent growing up in an army background. Thanks to her father’s work profile, she travelled across India and lived in many cities. This made Kajal grow up to be a strong-headed person and she always knew that she never wanted to be part of a crowd.
“Being a girl, I was not flexible enough as guys. I had to think twice before deciding where and when to go paint as it is not always safe”
She considers her parents to have had a huge influence in her life while growing up as she always wanted to be strong, independent and generous like her father and grounded like her mother. She also has a brother, Komet along with whom, she does graffiti art.
Graffiti has come up in recent years in India and talking about a female graffiti artist was almost bizarre until Kajal stepped into it and owned it like the big boys in the business. She says that her stint began in 2008 when she got attracted to the hip-hop culture.
“Then I started learning break dance and attended all hip-hop jams. During the same time, I and my brother Komet got to know about graffiti. Actually art is in our blood. And we were always into art since my mom used to paint too but we expressed our creativity through a different medium. Growing up, I was always either on art group or dance group during my entire school life. Whenever or wherever I got chance to perform, I did it.”
She added, “But that’s essentially how we started practising graffiti through internet looking up to the New York graffiti artists. We also learnt it from an old school teacher from New York who gave us classes every evening through Skype.”
The siblings started out by trying to take cues from foreign artists. When asked what she likes to paint, Kajal says she likes to paint her “name Dizy mostly on public platform legally”.
Her most significant work includes Indo-German Urban Hip-Hop Art (2012) in Mumbai, Each One Teach One (2013) in Pondicherry (Auroville) with German Hip-Hop Artists, 25 years of Fall of the Berlin Wall (2014) in Taj, Mumbai and Kolkata on German National Day, Hip-Hop culture exchange (2015) in Siberia (Russia), ON THE RUN (Old original graffiti products company) Exhibition in Creative World fair (2016) in Frankfurt, Germany.
But reaching a place where she is recognised as a graffiti artist was not as easy a task for Kajal as it looks. In fact, she had to face gender bias many times. “Being a girl I was not flexible enough as guys. I had to think twice before deciding where and when to go paint as it is not always safe.”
She also believes, “In early years, I wasn’t appreciated or taken seriously enough and most of the times, I had to have a guy to go to paint somewhere in Delhi. Sometimes I felt left out which was very hurting for me. But times have changed as I kept my faith. And I don’t feel that way anymore. Now I am actually proud of myself sometimes.”
Berlin’s street art is world-famous, and is ironically illegal. The city’s street art scene started shortly after the Berlin Wall was erected. Graffiti became the medium through which citizens of the city could express their frustrations about their city’s division. The western side of the wall is completely covered in gorgeous murals, and the culture of expressing one’s self through this medium continues today.
About her transition from Delhi to Berlin, where she is currently based, she says, “I have some connections with Germans or Germany as I have worked a lot with them and am learning the language and working with “On The Run” company.”
When Kajal was given the opportunity to work in Germany after being chosen for the Indo-German Hip-Hop Urban Art Project in 2012, she was very excited.
Being a woman, operating in such an unconventional space is not always easy. The artist says that her name ‘Dizy’ comes from the word ‘Dizzy’ which means mad. Being the first ‘graffiti girl’ in India is quite crazy, according to the artist.
Kajal is multi-talented. She is also a beauty and fitness blogger. She says that hip-hop and graffiti changed her life, transforming her from a quiet and shy girl into someone who is confident and can hustle!
About being the first female graffiti artist and her recognition, Kajal says, “I feel great (laughs) when I get recognized but I feel pressurized also to do more of good work. I think regarding graffiti, India is cool about it. Because it is not common like in Europe or America, so people get fascinated towards graffiti.”
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