Vanishing City Skin

Mumbai-based artists put the spotlight on the city’s shrinking cultural elements during ‘Vikhroli Skin’ on Saturday

Written by AMRUTA LAKHE | Published: December 14, 2013 2:45 am

Anjali Purohit: Erasures

Twenty years ago,when artist Anjali Purohit was walking by one of her favourite structures in Lower Parel — a sprawling chawl that used to be abuzz with various activities — she came across a notice board. “It announced that the plot was to be sold,and a commercial building would come up there,” Purohit recalls. ‘Erasures’,a series of paintings by her,is a record of such structures that were once the socio-cultural hub of Mumbai and today,they are abandoned,if not demolished. “It’s not just about the structures that are being torn down,but generations of families and communities that are losing their sense of belonging,” she says. Purohit’s paintings also depict the Irani cafe culture,and the mills after they shut down.

Ojas Kolvankar and Rakesh Manjrekar

These two artists will present a mixed-media interactive installation using sparrows as a metaphor to depict all that is depleting in the city along with the vanishing structures. Their large installation consists of 100 sparrow houses,that have been pieced together to form one giant structure. “Apart from sparrows,cultural elements such as games played in chawls like marbles,cuisine from the Malvani eateries in Girgaum and religious elements like the Vasudev who came knocking to collect alms,are disappearing in the city,” says Kolvankar.

Inner City Projects: City Library

Ginella George admits to being fascinated by street names in the old neighbourhoods. “No one knew what the names of the streets meant,so we dived into the history of the area,to trace the street name and its meaning,” she says. She will display 64 items collected from each of these streets,explaining how the place got its name,thus making a visual street library. “For instance: there is a street and a building called Bhangwadi in Kalbadevi. During our research,we realised that the area was a popular bhang den in the 1800s,”she says.

Grandmother India Design: Taxi Art

The team from Grandmother India Design talks about another important disappearing cultural item: taxi art. “The Padmini taxi,a big canvas for the taxi art with stickers and prints,is going to be off the road,” says Anand Tharaney of Grandmother India. They will conduct a live demonstration of the art on a taxi by Samir Mistry who works out of his garage creating hand-made and printed taxi art. The group will also present a photo essay and a six-and-half minute video on the making of the taxi designs. “It is interesting to note how pop culture,movies,religious references,brand logos find themselves on the back-window of a taxi,” he says.

Sameer Kulavoor: Blued — The Taad-Patri Project

Illustrator Sameer Kulavoor of Bombay Duck Designs will present prints from his book Blued in which he documents the innovative use of the blue tarpaulin — or taad-patri in local parlance — in the city. “It is the inexpensive Indian jugaad solution to everything — a leak in the roof,windproofing,sunproofing,” says Kulavoor. He will display the prints on the backdrop of a large blue tarpaulin. “If you see carefully,you see these taad-patris everywhere — appearing and vanishing from the cityscape — almost becoming a second skin of the city,” he says.

amruta.lakhe@expressindia.com

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