Public Art

Revitalising city spaces

Print edition : January 19, 2018

Built in 1875, the Sassoon Dock is still in use and is Mumbai's primary fishing dock. Located in Colaba towards the southern end of the city, the dock is home and livelihood to thousands of people. St+art Mumbai 2017 decided to make it a part of the lives of other Mumbaikars too with its Sassoon Dock Art Project. This public art project was visited by more than 27,000 people in its very first month. Photo: PRANAV GOHIL

"Inside Out" by the photographers Akshat Nauriyal and Pranav Gohil celebrates identity. The portraits are a celebration of the Koli community and an invitation to viewers to enter their world. After the first few weeks, the portraits gradually gave way to the elements, peeling, tearing and coming unstuck. They were not replaced since public art accepts that it, like its environs, is transient by nature. Photo: PRANAV GOHIL

A mural of Mahatma Gandhi by the Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra at Churchgate station dominates its surroundings in much the same way that the Mahatma strode tall in his time. The location was specifically picked because the Railways played an important part in spreading the message of an independent India. Photo: AKSHAT NAURIYAL

Psychedelic colours brighten the dockyard as artists Do and Khatra amplify colours that seem to be drawn from the ocean and sunrise and wrap them around the facade of the warehouse. Life at Sassoon is an amalgamation of colours. The illustrative mural on the facade moves from figurative design and transforms itself into abstract shapes that are contextual to the elements from the dock. The duo also used three-dimensional objects found at the site to add specificities on the mural. Photo: PRANAV GOHIL

Jindal House boldly passes on the message "All You Need Is Love". At night the pink heart shimmers, evoking mixed emotions of delight at the happy colours, laughter at the obvious cliche of the design, and a quickening heartbeat at the deep undeniable truth of the message. Photo: PRANAV GOHIL

Jindal House boldly passes on the message "All You Need Is Love". At night the pink heart shimmers, evoking mixed emotions of delight at the happy colours, laughter at the obvious cliche of the design, and a quickening heartbeat at the deep undeniable truth of the message. Photo: EMMANUAL YOGINI

Artist Tan Zi Xi worked with over 400 kg of plastic to create Plastic Ocean. Her inspiration was the Mumbai coast struggling with plastic waste. In this installation the viewer becomes part of the art, experiencing a milder version of what ocean life forms are suffering. Mirrors help in amplifying the impact. The aim is to reflect on, question and change one's lifestyles. Raising awareness and tackling issues is fundamental to public art practitioners. Photo: PRANAV GOHIL

The artist Guido Van Helten spent days photographing local women at the docks and settled on these three. Their vast portraits grace the warehouse where people like them have carried on their traditional business for the 142 years of the Sassoon Dock's existence. An element of stillness and grace pervades these and prompts reflection of times that have past. Photo: PRANAV GOHIL

Faizan Khatri's "Sassoon Dock Dog" is typical material for public art installation. The literal in terms of the skilled wire mesh sculpture and the figurative in terms of the message come together seamlessly in this art form. Photo: PRANAV GOHIL

Mundane elements like this water tank, integral to the dockyard, are magnets for public art artists who are drawn to them because of their pivotal role in their environs. The artists Ella and Pitr depict a dock worker resting after work. Photo: PRANAV GOHIL

Public spaces in Mumbai are redefined by public art installations that nurture a heightened awareness of the city’s environs.
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