Art project trans­forms his­toric In­dian fish­ing dock in Mum­bai

China Daily - - WORLD -

MUM­BAI — In­dian fish­er­men un­load their morn­ing catch as sari-clad women car­ry­ing buck­ets on their heads walk past street art that has trans­formed one of Mum­bai’s old­est fish­ing docks into an ex­hi­bi­tion space.

Thirty artists from around the world have given the bustling 142-year-old Sas­soon Dock, home to Mum­bai’s tra­di­tional Koli fish­ing com­mu­nity, a col­or­ful makeover as part of the St+art Ur­ban Art Fes­ti­val.

“The art­works range from mixed me­dia to graf­fiti to street-art styles to in­stal­la­tions, from us­ing paints to wood to fish­ing ob­jects,” said Ar­jun Bahl, co-founder and fes­ti­val di­rec­tor.

Ex­hibits in­clude large por­traits of Koli fish­er­folk — be­lieved to be Mum­bai’s orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants and whose god­dess “Mum­badevi” lends her name to the city — and brightly painted mu­rals rep­re­sent­ing women from the com­mu­nity.

One in­stal­la­tion, en­ti­tled “Par­fum Sas­soon”, al­ludes to the dock’s no­to­ri­ously pun­gent fishy smell while an­other has a clear en­vi­ron­men­tal mes­sage with its de­pic­tion of plas­tic bot­tles float­ing through the ocean.

The Sas­soon Dock project is part of the sev­enth edi­tion of the St+art Ur­ban Art Fes­ti­val which aims to make art ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one by trans­form­ing a pub­lic space.

“The whole idea was to bring art to a cer­tain sect of the com­mu­nity who usu­ally don’t in­ter­act with art,” Bahl said, as dock work­ers push trol­leys loaded with fish and boats bob gen­tly in the har­bor.

Sas­soon Dock was built in 1875 and is home to one of Mum­bai’s largest fish mar­kets. It is sit­u­ated in the dis­trict of Co­laba, in the south­ern tip of In­dia’s fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, which is free to view, opened to the pub­lic on Satur­day and was sched­uled to run un­til Dec 30. It will also fea­ture screen­ings, talks and tours.

INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A worker cleans the view­ing area in front of a photo mu­ral at the St+art Fes­ti­val at Sas­soon Dock in Mum­bai on Thurs­day.

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