As we walked past the design sections of our college, we would often be jealous of their painted walls and customised boards in their hallways. It is recently that I have realised that the voice of envy didn’t respond to the fact that their corridors were undeniably visually superior to ours, but that the murals and paintings put forth their personality for everyone to admire. Art is a form of expression that appeals to not just the cognitive side of the brain with the colours and patterns but the emotional and even social if it manages to convey a message. It is the best way to understand the subtle nature of the culture and people of the place; it shows us all that lies in the cracks of the obvious facts. Here are places in South Mumbai, specifically Kala Ghoda art hub to visit if all you can talk about, is art:
Jehangir Art Gallery
Two words: contemporary classic. Established in 1952, Jehangir art gallery holds various displays of canvas, sculpture and woodwork. It gives you an introduction to the works of many promising upcoming artists and the quiet, formal setup makes it suitable for a poignant study of the same. In addition to the constantly evolving exhibitions, the gallery also hosts lectures, workshops and discussions. It truly is a dream for art-lovers in the city. Just walk in, admire and even engage in conversation with other art aficionados.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
Close to the National Gallery of Modern Art (another place to consider for the walk) is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. The name is a mouthful but the trip is sure worth trying to pronounce it. As old as 1905, the building flaunts intricate yet grandiose architecture almost as stunning as the art it exhibits inside. The museum has various artifacts but also has a stellar collection of miniature paintings and sculptures. You can also purchase handicraft items from the gift shop.
Art festivals and projects
The listing seems rather vague, I agree. However, it would be unfair to not mention the temporary exhibitions and festivals that sporadically pop up in various parts of Mumbai, mostly South Mumbai. Projects such as the Sassoon Docks project and the annual Kala Ghoda festival are must-sees if your visit to the metropolitan falls within the schedule of their programme. A celebration of art in all forms and street art (Sassoon docks), these festivals give you refreshing content, works you have never seen before and might not see again.
Street art in Mumbai is not a novel affair. For years the walls and sidewalks have been brushed into landscapes, creatives and abstract art, often even delving into the more complex socio-economic issues of society. But what makes us stop and admire Mumbai’s street art is raw and honest representation of the vibrant culture and the drawn-out complexity of the diverse city in just a few strokes and sprays. From rickshaws, local trains, community living to political satires, environmental slogans and subtle societal commentary, these artworks will give you an insight into the city life like no other.
This is a place for those who can appreciate experimentation in art. A private gallery run by Geetha Mehra, Sakshi gallery is a premier gallery that features work from very well-known and prestigious artists. You can find works of various national and international artists, the likes of El Anatsui, Julian Opie and even Gregory Crewdson. In addition to displays dedicated to big names in the industry, the gallery also provides a platform for aspiring artists and exposes the public to their works. It often shows many new innovative techniques adopted by artists.