Saloni Shah’s daily commute to Gurgaon has lately been filled with a little colour. As she walks into Jor Bagh metro station every morning, her eyes cut through the crowds to focus on a wall covered with flowers.

These photographs and artworks, which illustrate the connection between gardens and cultural backgrounds, are on display at the station as part of Habitat Photosphere, a year-long photo festival organized by India Habitat Centre. The aim of The Garden Underground, which features the work of Tony Clancy, Arati Kumar-Rao and Juhi Saklani, is to promote environmental awareness through art.

The panels by Tony Clancy (left) and Arati Kumar-Rao at the Jor Bagh Metro station.
The panels by Tony Clancy (left) and Arati Kumar-Rao at the Jor Bagh Metro station.

Shah finds that the evocative, colourful images punctuate her humdrum routine – “My grandfather goes for a walk in our housing society’s garden every day and has been trying to get me to come along for years. He tries to tempt me with the idea that if I see beautiful gardens and flowers every morning then my day will go well. I can now tell him that I do look at flowers every morning and don’t even have to wake up early.” And even as others rush past the exhibit, she stops to take a selfie in front of one of Clancy’s photographs.

Clancy, who is also the curator for the exhibition, said “This exhibition brings a small oasis to the depths of the metro system, where passing passengers can enjoy images that evoke the pleasures and spectacle of gardens... the pictures open up a dialogue between East and West, tropical and temperate, between those who create and tend for gardens and those who come to enjoy them.”

Another panel by Tony Clancy.
Another panel by Tony Clancy.

Between themselves, he, Saklani and Kumar-Rao present three organs of a garden’s ecosystem – flowers and plants, insect species and the gardeners who maintain these islands within increasingly suffocated cities.

Clancy’s riotously colourful, textured images celebrate the exuberant beauty of flowers; Saklani’s work recognises the hard work and expertise of gardeners; and Kumar-Rao focuses on the unique desert garden around the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur.

The exhibit ends June 21.

Photograph by Tony Clancy.
Photograph by Tony Clancy.
Photograph: Tony Clancy
Photograph: Tony Clancy
Photograph: Tony Clancy
Photograph: Tony Clancy
The panel by Juhi Saklani.
The panel by Juhi Saklani.
Photograph: Juhi Saklani
Photograph: Juhi Saklani
Photograph: Juhi Saklani
Photograph: Juhi Saklani
Vishwanath Ji, one of the gardeners at the Lodhi Gardens. Photograph: Juhi Saklani
Vishwanath Ji, one of the gardeners at the Lodhi Gardens. Photograph: Juhi Saklani
The panel by Arati Kumar-Rao.
The panel by Arati Kumar-Rao.