The SoBo art trail: Exploring Mumbai’s art district

It never ceases to amaze me how much I unconsciously internalise popular perceptions without even realising it. Take for instance, Mumbai’s art scene.

Till about 3 weeks back, if somebody had asked me about Mumbai’s art scene, I would have said how it was not very vibrant, unlike Delhi. Or Bangalore. Or Chennai. I might have cited the absence of good art galleries, beyond the couple of famous ones that I knew. I  would have also said something about the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, and then probably ended by mumbling something about not knowing much about my city’s artscape.

All I can say of the above para is that only the last line is correct — I really don’t know anything about my city’s art scene. As for the rest, I was only repeating the general impression about Mumbai’s art scene based on what I read and discussions with like-minded people.

I realised how misplaced my knowledge was when I received an invitation from Pia of Good Homes India to participate in a blogger art trail (essentially a guided tour of 5 of South Bombay’s prominent art galleries) as part of their Public Art Week initiative. The invite was intriguing enough, but what caught my attention were these lines:

The galleries we are looking at covering are Gallery7, Sakshi art gallery, Gallery Maskara, 1/29 Studio Gallery and Art Musings. The mix is interesting and so is the art.

With the exception of Sakshi Gallery (which I had never been to), I hadn’t even heard of the other art galleries. And to think all these galleries were concentrated in South Bombay (SoBo), also known as the city’s art district. This I had to see for myself !

I had no hesitation in accepting the invitation even though it was at such short notice necessitating taking half-a-day off from work. So, on November 28th, a mixed group of 10 odd design, food, art and travel bloggers gathered at The Pantry for high tea before setting out on the art trail.

Art Trail, Gallery Maskara, Mumbai

Continue reading “The SoBo art trail: Exploring Mumbai’s art district”

Dear Himachal Pradesh…

I dreamt about you yesterday.

It was a lovely dream where my 10-day trip to Fagu, Sarahan, Kalpa, Sangla, Narkhanda and Chail in September was relived all over again. I usually don’t remember my dreams when I wake up, but this one was so crystal clear and real that I’m pretty sure that I must have spoken in my sleep !

I dreamt of the trip of many firsts — the first time I visited your state, the first time I saw the mighty Himalayas, the first time my under-graduate and post-graduate classes on Himalayan Geology came alive, the first time I saw apples on trees, the first time I tasted a yellow plum, the first time I saw the confluence of two rivers … and so much more.

Himachal Pradesh, FaguI dreamt about the rainstorm you welcomed me and the group I was travelling with. And how in the space of a few hours, we went from hot and humid Mumbai to cold, almost freezing, weather in Fagu. That night, I slept under two blankets and had a heater in the room.

I dreamt of that first morning I woke up to in Fagu. Clouds had covered the entire valley and I delighted in watching the clouds vanish like wisps of vapour as the sun rose in the sky to reveal the distant snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas. And closer, much closer, was the vegetation associated with the Himalayan ecosystem. Not that I could identify any, but still… 🙂

Continue reading “Dear Himachal Pradesh…”

Museum Treasure: The Holy Family

In a quiet bylane of Old Goa is The Museum of Christian Art. Perhaps the only one of its kind in Asia, the Museum showcases Indo-Portuguese art from the 16th to the 20th century.The Museum’s collection includes furniture, sculptures, ivory and metal artefacts, textiles, paintings and books from the 16th to the 20th century. On a visit to Goa last month, an afternoon spent at the Museum turned out to be the highlight of my entire trip.

The Museum’s collection is extremely well curated and presented. While it is difficult to choose a favourite among the ones I saw at the Museum, I had no hesitation in choosing one for today’s post on Christmas Eve.

“The Holy Family”, a 20th century set of ivory figurines mounted on wood, was donated to the Museum by the Albuquerques from Anjuna in Goa.

The Holy Family, Ivory, Jesus, Mary and Joseph
The Holy Family. Ivory and Wood. 2oth Century

While the 3 figures in the centre are very clearly Joseph, Mary and the child Jesus, I’m not sure who the two figures on the extreme right and left are. Maybe St. Anne and St. Joachim, Mary’s parents? I loved the delicate details of the figurines: the expression on both the women’s faces and drape of the robes, the look of wonder on Jesus’ face.

As always, whenever I see such exquisite works of art, I wonder who the artist was and what went through his/her mind while creating “The Holy Family”?

Dear reader, did you like these figurines as much as I did?

Wish you a very Happy Christmas 🙂

The Museum Treasure Series is all about artifacts found in museums with an interesting history and story attached to them. You can read more from this series here.