It has been a month now that the Sassoon Dock Art Project stormed the city of Mumbai with its motto of ‘Art for All’. Started on 18th November, 2017, it is an inspiring initiative by St+Art India that plugged in over 30 artists from India and abroad.
This 142 year old Sassoon dock is one of the largest fish markets in the city. But for the longest time it has been a forgotten space in the ever changing surroundings of Mumbai as it was usually cordoned off from the general public. From a time when even locals didn’t dare to step foot in this area, in the last month, Sassoon Docks has received people from all over the city and well, country too.
With a mix of installations, murals, audiovisual experiences and screenings, the project is an ode to the much often ignored fishing community of Mumbai who were also one of the first few inhabitants of the city.
Greeting you at first sight are monochrome portraits of over 200 members of the fishermen community that celebrate its diversity and vibrance, pasted on the very spaces they call home.
Once you register (it’s free!), your journey through this maze of wonder begins. Here are some of the exceptional works of art you will encounter:
1. The Idea Of Smell – Hanif Kureshi
Playing with the idea of smell and memory, it is a walkthrough of sensations that remind you of the experiences that you have undergone. Hanging midair are hundreds of words that will trigger a larger understanding of how smell can only be first recollected with memory rather than a direct recollection of its sensory experience. Reading some of the words also left me nostalgic for the moments that crossed my mind and hence this was my personal favorite installation.
2. Plastic Ocean – Tan Zi Xi
Plastic Ocean is an installation by artist Tan Zi Xi where she worked with 400 kgs of plastic to grow awareness about the waste polluting Mumbai’s coastline.
It left me disconcerted as a room with mirrors on each side and completely filled with plastic waste made me feel trapped and suffocated as was intended by the artist. It makes one question their lifestyle and submerges them into the consequences of their actions!
3. Livil – Olivier Hoelzl
In this installation titled, ‘Livil’, Olivier Hoelzl recreates the image of Koli women worshipping the sea. He does this using multiple layers of finely carved stencil paper cuts and illuminating it using blue and pink UV lights. Moreover, he fills the room with uncertainty as the surrounding narrative questions the validity of urbanization and colonialism.
4. Guido Van Helten’s Wall Mural Portraits
After spending 3 days photographing the fisher folk, the artist commemorated them by turning the faces of 3 women into full wall-sized murals. The emotion on their faces is so apparent that it evokes sentiments in the viewer too.
Here are some more pictures from other installations at the Sassoon Dock Art Project:
It’s not just the inside of the dock that has been breathed life into, you will find that the artists have painted plenty of walls on that street.
More Information about the Project:
The exhibition ends on 30th December. There are no entry charges, however, one can make a small donation. You can know more about it here.
This experiential exhibition has inspired me. It has left me seeing art in every corner I turn. What is art anyway? For me it can be anything really – paintings, architecture, graphic design, poems, science or anything that evokes an emotion or a feeling in me. It could be a look, a touch or a person. Art is all around us, in each and everything, if only we dare to see it!
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