As you have probably already seen on your Instagram feed if you live in Mumbai, St+art Urban Art Festival has transformed Mumbaiâs SassoonÂ Docks, one of the cityâs oldest fishing communities,Â into an exhibition space with graffiti and art installations. With their mantra, ‘Art for Allâ, they aim to showcase art projects in publicÂ areas removing the experience from a conventional gallery space and embedding it within our cities, making art truly democratic. Arjun Bahl, co-founder and festival director, says that, âThe whole idea was to bring art to a certain sect of the community who usually donât interact with art.â
40 artists from around the world have given this 142-year-old active dock a colourful makeover; it’s a must see exhibition if you don’t mind the scent. It’s not lost on the artists that the smell is an issue, a fact that’s been acknowledged in the cleverest way by cutting-edge graphic designer and multimedia artist Sameer Kulavoorâs Parfum Sassoon showroom.
A photo installation in association with the Inside Out Project covers the warehouse walls as you enter the show. Started by French artist JR, the installation celebrates local identities and stories using large-format street paste-ups. In this case, roughly 300 black and white portraits of locals were pasted on the warehouse walls.
Created by content director Akshat Nauriyal with assistance fromÂ Pranav Gohil, the photo project was initially met some with some local resistance. âWhen we approached the dock workers for the Inside Out project, there was some mistrust. We had to talk to the community leaders to get our point across, but once we started, interest grew and people started coming in,â says Nauriyal.
Another crowd favourite is Singapore-based female artist Tan Zi Xi’s commentary on the state of the ocean, that uses plastic trash collected by local women. The debris is sewn together by the female dockworkers with fishing lines and hung from the ceiling, giving you an ethereal underwater experience of our human imprint on the oceans.Â Also unmissable:Â The Fearless Collective founder Shilo Shiv Suleman, covered by Vogue in 2015 for her alternative, people-led narratives, has created a powerful mural celebrating the women of the docks.
The calendar of events can be found on their Facebook page.
The show debuted on November 11 and runs till December 30Â complete with workshops, lectures and films every weekend
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