Is there a more overwhelming city than Mumbai? She is dynamic and lethargic, beautiful and ugly at the same time. You can approach her in many ways for example, on an art walk that allows quite unexpected encounters with the city of megacity, which has long been described as a poorhouse. Ironically, art, one might object, in a country that has quite different problems.
Yes, art. Because the boom in the past few years triggered by film, fashion and IT industry, design and architecture led to a cultural renaissance in the 25 million metropolis. The newly refurbished Royal Opera House and the fledgling National Gallery of Modern Art as well as a growing number of galleries and the Kala Ghoda Festival held each February shortly after the much-visited Gallery Weekend testify to this. Now you can explore the landscape painting also.
Kala Ghoda is the colonial heart of southern Mumbai. The huge Prince of Wales Museum, now known as CSMVS, with its tropical park, antique sculptures, Victorian painting and modern Indian art, such as the expressive, glowing red “Songs from the Blood of the Weary”, attracts visitors here »Sixty-year-old feminist Rekha Rodwittiya, who is currently being honored with an exhibition. Then it’s off to the Art Plaza, a popular street art market, to the neighboring Jehangir Art Gallery. Donated in 1952 by Cowasji Jehangir and built to plans by Durga Bajpai, the Kunsthalle, an early masterpiece of Indian reinforced concrete architecture, quickly established itself as India’s premier location thanks to exhibitions by founding members of the avant-garde Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group such as MF Husain, SH Raza and FN Souza contemporary art events.
- In addition to the major annual exhibitions of the Bombay Art Society, their halls show varying group and solo exhibitions of varying quality almost on a weekly basis. At the weekends the artists are present and are happy to explain their works for sale. For example, art professor Sandhya Ketkar, who transforms photos of Indian and Pakistani gatehouses found on the Internet into architectonically alienated paintings.
Comparatively low prices make the Jehangir Art Gallery a place where young collectors can discover their passion before they go hunting in the galleries if the budget allows it. Thanks to free entry, onlookers from poorer classes also venture into this art world as well as in the neighboring Max Mueller Bhavan Gallery of the Goethe-Institut. Here, the inquisitive youth discusses European and new Indian artistic trends with intellectual art lovers at the beginning of the year, for example, the poetic-depth video work “Inferno” by Yael Bartana, which deals with the reconstruction of the Solomonic Temple by an evangelical sect in São Paulo.
After this colorful, museum-like prelude we venture into the crowd of people teeming with streets. The historic Murals-painted Lion Gate is said to house Isa Gallery, founded in 2011 by Ashwin Thadani, and is the only one in Mumbai that focuses exclusively on international art. However, we doubt whether we are right here before the big Great Western Building in need of renovation. Only at the upper end of the slightly shaky flight of stairs, an arrow points to the gallery. If you enter, you are in another world.