ART PROJECT TRANS­FORMS HIS­TORIC IN­DIAN FISH­ING DOCK

Muscat Daily - - FEATURES -

In­dian fish­er­men un­load their morn­ing catch as sa­ree-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 colour­ful makeover as part of the St+art Ur­ban Art Fes­ti­val.

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

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,” ex­plains Bahl, as dock work­ers push trol­leys loaded with fish and boats bob gen­tly in the har­bour.

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 Novem­ber 11 and runs un­til De­cem­ber 30. It will also fea­ture screen­ings, talks and tours.

An­other fea­ture of the fes­ti­val is a gi­ant, multi-coloured mu­ral on the nearby Church­gate rail­way sta­tion show­ing In­dia’s in­de­pen­dence move­ment leader Ma­hatma Gandhi step­ping down from a train.

It was painted by pop­u­lar Brazil­ian street artist Ed­uardo Ko­bra.

(AFP)

The main venue of the St+art Fes­ti­val at Sas­soon Dock

A vol­un­teer work­ing next to an in­stal­la­tion

A worker cleans the view­ing area in front of a photo mu­ral

The mu­ral work out­side the dock

A woman passes by the art­work on the street walls

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