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Monday, August 08, 2022

Art Street: In Dongri, an artwork paying homage to social worker Laxmibai Mali

Artwork installed on Ramchandra Bhatt Marg at Laxmibai Tukaram Mali Chowk shows two boys running with paper planes and kites and a girl playing with balloons.

Written by Sagar Rajput | Mumbai |
August 6, 2022 2:11:29 pm
mumbai dongri lakshmibai maliThe chowk was named after social worker Lakshmibai Mali by late political leader Sayed Ahmed in 2006. (Express photo by Amit Kumar Das)

Flying kites, throwing paper planes and running around with balloons – childhood memories come rushing back after seeing the artwork installed on Ramchandra Bhatt Marg in Mumbai’s Dongri area at a four-arm junction known as Laxmibai Tukaram Mali Chowk. A homage to late social worker Laxmibai Mali, the artwork was created and inaugurated in November 2021.

Shiv Sena corporator Sonam Jamsutkar and her husband Manoj, a former Sena corporator, decided to install an artwork in their ward in Mali’s memory. “Everyone in the area knows Laxmibai Mali. She is known for the work she did for society due to which the chowk was named after her,” Manoj said.

art street mumbai “the artwork brings back memories,” said Ahmed Sheikh, a resident. (Express photo by Amit Kumar Das)

As Mali had special affection for children, local leaders and her son Ranjan decided to have an artwork of children named after her. “She loved children, so instead of having her statue, we decided to create something that shows what she loved,” said Manoj. “It also reminds us of how we spent our childhood,” he added.

The chowk was named after Mali by late political leader Sayed Ahmed in 2006.

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“Earlier, the junction did not have any specific name. So everyone would just call the junction as Noor Baug naka as there is a hall named Noor Baug nearby. However, after Ahmed’s recommendation, the chowk was named after my mother,” Mali’s son Ranjan said.

Authorities, he added, had just put up a board that read ‘Laxmibai Tukaram Mali Chowk’. “Apart from that, there was nothing. However, since the construction of these sculptures at the centre of the junction, the locals have been stopping there and reading the name of the chowk,” said Ranjan, adding that many even click selfies with the artwork.

The artwork shows two boys running with paper planes, kites and a girl playing with balloons. A board with the message ‘Bachpan ke din bhula na dena (Don’t forget those childhood days)’ has also been placed.

“The artwork was inaugurated by MP Arvind Sawant on November 2, 2021. There was no message around it at the time of inauguration, but after seeing the artwork, Sawant gave the slogan after which we put up boards around it,” said Manoj.

“Today we barely see any boy or girl play with a kite, balloon or paper planes through which we could relive our childhood. For that matter, they don’t even go outside to play, they are just hooked on to mobile phones, so the artwork brings back memories,” said Ahmed Sheikh, a resident.

Manoj said that it was a beautification project that Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray came up with and added that Rs 3-4 lakh was spent on constructing the artwork, utilising money from the corporator’s fund.

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First published on: 06-08-2022 at 02:11:29 pm

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