I heard about the Kala Ghoda Art Festival, which is held from the first Saturday in February till the next Sunday since the last 15 years, only last year! At the time, I decided that I would visit Mumbai for the next event, and sure enough, I made my way to the city for the 2013 edition of the festival.
I have to say that it was an interesting experience. There were some lovely public art installations, and of course others that left me cold.
Some of the installations were quintessentially Mumbai. Like this one:
Dhanda, which means “business”, depicts the Mumbaikar’s search for business opportunities and the difficulties that people face to earn their daily bread. The letters of the word look like high-rise buildings, with the small letter “d” representing the BSE building. The hustle and bustle of Mumbai’s lifestyle is depicted through the use of contemporary warli art.
And the Dabbawala:
Mumabi’s dabbawalas (lunch box carriers) are the heart and soul of the city. About 5,000-odd dabbawalas have been in action for over 125 years, delivering nearly 2,00,000 lunches every day. This installation, showing the dabbawala carrying Mumbai on his head, is an ode to this almost always uninterrupted service.
Other installations were quirky, like this awesome Vespa, depicting the Italian scooter as the bug from which it drew its design inspiration…
…and these cool spectacles, a fun way to illustrate Mumbai as the city of dreams.
There were some thought provoking installations, like Sanyyam. Shaped like a tortoise, its appendages have been replaced with human sensory organs like the eyes, ears, hand, foot, nose and lips. It serves as a reminder for us to be aware of and in control of our senses.
And The Shelter Tree – a commentary on the social evils – mainly against women – that most people turn a blind eye to. What I liked about it was that the “leaves” on the trees were grey and infected, which people could replace with a green paper leaf and take a pledge to be the change.
In addition to the public art installations, there are a number of workshops that are held every day. I managed to attend just one – a workshop on stain glass painting, conducted by Mamta Vora. She showed us some interesting techniques to create faux stain glass, and one that took everyone’s breath away – marbling a glass. At that moment, my friend and I decided we had to do a cooking and craft weekend sometime soon. And we already have some fun crafty and DIY ideas that we want to try!
We wanted to attend a cooking workshop by Pooja Dhingra from Le 15 Patisserie, but sadly, despite reaching the venue 30 minutes early as mentioned on the site, they ran out of space and we were unable to attend it.
There are also plays and music, heritage walks and art stalls and paintings. It’s hard to be able to do everything that you want to over a weekend, partly because of the huge crowd that descends on Kala Ghoda, but it is a festival that you should attend at least once.
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