Eshaan Rajesh is an artist who can draw on many of life’s experiences, having lived in India before moving the UK, and having lived in different parts of the UK. He tells us he and his family are firmly settled in Cardiff now, having played an active role in empowering young people in the city.
What is your work all about?
Eshaan is no stranger to creating art that is reflective of Cardiff, and his work has already featured at the Wales Millennium Centre. He has included a small part of his previous work in his commission for Summer of Smiles.
“I put the Black History Month banner, which I completed a year ago and is on display in the window of the Wales Millennium Centre. I felt it was important to include this because I hope it will help to spark some sort of affinity with my work for everyone.”
Eshaan has tried to reflect the diversity of Cardiff’s population within his latest masterpiece, which is now on display outside City Hall, at the main festival site for Summer of Smiles.
“My work is a visual representation of the diversity and inclusivity we can find in Cardiff.”
“It consists of the Wales Millennium Centre, and instead of the In These Stones Horizons Sing message on the front of the building, I have included the words Young People Are the Change we Wish to see in Cardiff.”
“It’s an inspirational message because it reinforces the role that young people have to play in Cardiff and shaping the future of our capital city.”
“Including people from different backgrounds was crucial. All the people in the graphic are from different religious, racial and cultural upbringings.”
How is Cardiff reflected in your work?
The work itself is focussed around the Wales Millennium Centre, but it includes many other aspects of Cardiff. Eshaan chose Millennium Centre for its symbolism with Cardiff.
“Why not have the Wales Millennium Centre? It’s a unique way to include the message, and the surrounding landscape is breath-taking. I can take a iconic building, which is local to my home and has formed a big part of my life, and put my own stamp on it.”
The piece itself is versatile, with inspiration drawn from different art themes, which amasses to a visual representation of Cardiff.
“The sky gives me an anime vibe, from the colour alone. The clouds in the sky are shaped like the map of the world, which I hope people will recognise as a nod towards Cardiff’s global outlook.”
What did it take to create your piece?
Although he is only 17, Eshaan is already an experienced artist. Having created the logo for TheSprout’s recent The Future is Feminist campaign, and created content for his school council in his spare time, this task came naturally.
“I decided to do my work digitally this time around. I have experimented with acrylics and paint for years. It is about time that I took my work a step further and digitalising it is the best way to do that.”
“Doing things the traditional way can take a long time as well. I have completed artwork where the drawing, before adding any sort of colour, can take up to an hour. Digitalising my work meant it became a lot less time consuming.”
“I was not a complete novice to digital art, though. Drawing on my experiences of graphic design with Cardiff Youth Council and my Black History Month banner helped me a lot and they are all things I am very proud of.”
What do you like about art?
Rightly, we are told there are different forms of art that are all as moving as each other. But Eshaan unearths a deeper meaning to being creative, telling us art is about understanding our own minds, while trying to captivate the imaginations of other people.
“Art is a way of communicating with people. You can have martial arts, performing arts, fine arts, or a film. It is all about expressing yourself in a slightly more abstract fashion than reading and writing.”
“With regard to the young people, the art on display here has emphasised that art is a medium which gives young people a voice and a platform for them to make a difference.”
How did you hear about the opportunity?
Eshaan is also a part of something called the CYPAB. To most, this is a word you would commonly associate with the terms ‘Doner’ and ‘All the sauces please boss.’ But we’re told it is nothing to do with that.
It is an abbreviation of the Children’s and Young People’s Advisory Board.
“I am a part of lots of organisations that were all sharing this opportunity, so I was an expert on the topic by the time I heard about it the third time. I checked out the opportunity, and I thought I would use the skills I have learned from my hobby to inspire other young people.”
“What motivated me to apply to this commission was knowing that I could make Cardiff a better place and apply my skillset to make a change.”