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Valay Shende’s: Mumbai Dabbawalla

Valay Shende initiated the Dabbawala series in 2006 with the intention of representing the working class of the city. The 13ft sculpture by Valay is installed at the crossroad of the Haji Ali signal and certainly stands out even in the hustle of crossing the street or getting past a signal.

The installation showcases a Dabbawala in a kurta and trouser, a traditional cap and a pair of Kolhapuri chappals. The sculpture is seen to be holding two dhabas and is draped with a thousand stainless steel discs.

Subodh Gupta’s ‘Aakash, Pataal, Dharti’

A four-walled structure, the installation is seen as a huge cube crammed and capacitated with crushed aluminum utensils and a layer of coloured cloth scraps sandwiched in between.

Stationed at the commercial BKC Godrej property, the artwork ‘Aakash, Pataal, Dharti’ (the original installation for which can be seen in the image above this) was intentionally installed at the corner plot of the property. This beauty was positioned for passers-by and guests to stop and reflect at what the artwork had to offer them.

Orbiting the structure, the viewer is given a glimpse of the crushed vessels, its discarded state and the history associated with the users offering the viewer a narrative of their past utility.

Stationed at Godrej BKC

Seen in this image is the scale of the artwork as compared to its surroundings, from a bird’s eye view. We hope Mumbaikars, as citizens of this beautiful city, pause and take the time to appreciate art with as much wonderment as we did.

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Lab 05 Jul 2017

CQ explores some recent Public Art Installations in Mumbai

In appreciation of the city of Mumbai, CQ explores Public Art installations around the city. We talk about two in particular, Valay Shende’s ‘Mumbai Dabbawala’ and Subodh Gupta’s ‘Aakash, Pataal, Dharti’ spotted recently near Haji Ali and at BKC respectively. We explain what makes these two, treasures in their own respect.

A city that witnesses a thousand cries, a thousand struggles and a thousand new beginnings daily is now home to a million. If you’ve lived in Mumbai you’ll know how fast-paced the city really is. While the hustle and the shovel could wear you out even before you begin your day, there’s something beautiful Mumbai has to offer. Take the time to look around and you’ll notice how beautiful Public Art installations around the city really are.

Moving around the city, we’d stumbled upon two inspiring public installations that we couldn’t help but write about.

Valay Shende’s Mumbai Dabbawalla

With the intention of beautifying and bringing art to public spaces in Mumbai, Mr Harsh Goenkar (Chairman of RPG Enterprises) commissioned the project to the globally recognised artist, Valay Shende. We’ve spoken to Valay before about his art, so we were pleasantly surprised when we passed by the installation near Haji Ali. Representing Mumbai and the labour class, Shende themed the installation around the Dabbawalas of Mumbai.

Valay Shende’s: Mumbai Dabbawalla

Valay Shende initiated the Dabbawala series in 2006 with the intention of representing the working class of the city. The 13ft sculpture by Valay is installed at the crossroad of the Haji Ali signal and certainly stands out even in the hustle of crossing the street or getting past a signal.

The installation showcases a Dabbawala in a kurta and trouser, a traditional cap and a pair of Kolhapuri chappals. The sculpture is seen to be holding two dabbas and is draped with a thousand stainless steel discs.

Why the Dabbawalas?

Valay Shende initiated the Dabbawala series in 2006 with the intention of representing the working class of the city. Valay explains, “When I first came to the city, the energy of Mumbai was what fascinated me”. The 13ft sculpture by Valay is installed at the crossroad of the Haji Ali signal and certainly stands out even in the hustle of crossing the street or getting past a signal.

The installation showcases a Dabbawala in a kurta and trouser, a traditional cap and a pair of Kolhapuri chappals. The sculpture is seen to be holding two dhabas and is draped with a thousand stainless steel discs.

Inaugurated on the 31st of March, the installation showcases a Dabbawala in a kurta and trouser, a traditional cap and a pair of Kolhapuri chappals. The sculpture is seen to be holding two dabbas and is draped with a thousand stainless steel discs. Welded carefully one at a time, the discs are shaped in the form of atoms and molecules. If you make your way to Haji Ali or intend moving further south, make sure to take some time off to enjoy the Dabbawala sculpture. To read more about Shende’s work, click here!

Subodh Gupta’s ‘Aakash, Pataal, Dharti’

Walking on the pedestrian outside the premises of the Godrej property at BKC, our eyes mounted on to this extraordinary installation: a huge metallic cube that sat in a symbiosis with the surroundings. We were fascinated with what we’d seen and didn’t stop until we learnt more about it.

Subodh Gupta’s ‘Aakash, Pataal, Dharti’

A four-walled structure, the installation is seen as a huge cube crammed and capacitated with crushed aluminum utensils and a layer of coloured cloth scraps sandwiched in between.

Stationed at the commercial BKC Godrej property, the artwork Aakash, Pataal, Dharti was intentionally installed at the corner plot of the property. This beauty was positioned for passers-by and guests to stop and reflect on what the artwork had to offer them.

Mr. Pirojsha Godrej, Executive Chairman, Godrej Properties says, “We are happy to install this contemporary artwork Godrej BKC. We believe art is a great medium of expression and adds to the beauty of spaces. We aim to create inspiring workplaces and this installation is a step in that direction.”

What is Aakash, Pataal, Dharti about?

A four-walled structure, the installation is seen as a huge cube crammed and capacitated with crushed aluminum utensils and a layer of coloured cloth scraps sandwiched in between.

Stationed at the commercial BKC Godrej property, the artwork ‘Aakash, Pataal, Dharti’ (the original installation for which can be seen in the image above this) was intentionally installed at the corner plot of the property. This beauty was positioned for passers-by and guests to stop and reflect at what the artwork had to offer them.

Orbiting the structure, the viewer is given a glimpse of the crushed vessels, its discarded state and the history associated with the users offering the viewer a narrative of their past utility.

“However, once placed together in this cubic structure, the broken individuals and individualities are made to enclose a new and emergent collective ritual space. Thus, the complex fault lines across each of their surfaces assume astrological and astronomical significance, portraying not just a map of individual or subjectively lived fate but simultaneously alluding to communal cosmological destinies,” says Subodh.

Orbiting the structure, the viewer is given a glimpse of the crushed vessels, its discarded state and the history associated with the users offering the viewer a narrative of their past utility.

“We are happy to install this contemporary artwork Godrej BKC. We believe art is a great medium of expression and adds to the beauty of spaces. We aim to create inspiring workplaces and this installation is a step in that direction,” says Mr Pirojsha Godrej.

Even while we took the time to write this piece, there was one question that constantly bothered us all through. Would Mumbai as a city stop, pause and take the time to appreciate art? Are we appreciative of the arts industry and do we strive to support them?

A decaying generation that refuses eye contact and prefers a chat instead, we’re probably losing out on experiencing the city we live in, the beauty it offers and conversations we could have brewed with the city.

Acknowledgement: This article was possible because of the help of Nature Morte gallery based in New Delhi & GPL Design Studio (Godrej Properties Limited). Nature Morte showcases some of Subodh's works. Visit their site, naturemorte.com.