From classical music concerts to live art galleries -- what did Mumbaikars see this month?

February was a shorter, but rather busy month for Mumbai’s culture and design lovers… and event hopping became de rigueur last weekend. While melodious sounds wafted in the air during the classical music concert on the lawns of the historic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya to celebrate the opening of their new money and jewellery galleries (designed by architect Brinda Somaya’s SNK India in a “record-breaking” 60 days), there were pulsating rhythms at the new Method Art Space nearby to mark the end of their ‘Spatial’ exhibition of works by artists from their residency programme. At Method’s next show titled ‘On and off the wall’, on display until March 8, you will see explorations of art and fashion by Oona & Sohni.

In the queen of the suburbs, meanwhile, the setting sun shed its glow on the artists painting and sculpting on the final day of the fourth edition of ‘Art by the Sea’, designed for women artists to come out of their studios, engage with the community and claim public spaces.

Indeed, Bandra’s Carter Road turned into a live sunset art gallery for three days. Among those who participated were artists Manjri Varde, Vipta Kapadia, Ami Patel and Sujata Achrekar. The event curated by Shraddha Puraye and presented by art hotel Le Sutra needs to be commended for taking art on to the street.

Earlier in the month, the Sarita Handa design store at Mahalakshmi came alive with ‘The Naturalist’s World’, hosted by Sarita Handa, Suparna Handa and Preeti Mahajan along with botanist-illustrator Ravi Jambhekar. Visitors to the store had a chance to imbibe lessons from the illustrator while trying their hand at re-creating the beauty of nature.

Associated with citizen groups and NGOs in Goa, Mumbai and Bengaluru, Jambhekar helps them conduct nature walks and workshops to create awareness about wildlife conservation and education outreach activities. He uses art, multimedia and science writing to draw attention towards conservation issues and disseminates information about natural history observations to the general public.

While at High Street Phoenix, shoppers passing through the PVR courtyard could catch a glimpse of ‘Fragile Terrains’, wall installations by Shruti Jhaveri created out of waste paper and other eco-friendly materials.

A monochromatic mermaid skirt showcases the spirit of water through a realistic lens with a colour palette that calms the viewer. Inspired by the fluidity and intricacy of underwater forms, these sculptural works, including eye-catching coral reef formations, are on display until March 11.

The month ended with a showcase of installations by architects and designers such as Ashiesh Shah, Amrish Patel & Darshan Soni, Little Shilpa, Rooshad Shroff, Shitij Dogra and Bandana Jain at Gauri Khan Designs, to celebrate 25 years of Maison&Objet – the international show for professionals in the lifestyle, interior décor and design industry.

Founder Gauri Khan, who has been inspired by the creative lifestyle and audacious interior design of what she considers the leading trade event, admitted, “I do visit this show on a regular basis as it gives a 360-degree view of the latest in home décor and design. I find the aesthetics of the show quite impressive.”

Khan, who showed a collection called Sankhedu at Maison&Object in 2016, recalled, “It was unique work done in brass and wood, something you see only in the village of Sankhedu today.

My goal was to present traditional craft in contemporary form, and that came through quite well.” Gauri Khan Designs had collaborated with master embroiderer Jean Francois Lesage and chandelier maker Regis Mathieu then.

“India has a rich heritage of local craft that is quite extraordinary,” adds Khan. “When you combine that with the new materials, textures and technology that are on display at places like Maison&Objet – a lot of which we still don’t see in India, and at that scale – you can create something quite unique.”

Observing that they have high-end ‘Made in India’ products and designs at the fair, Raj Anand of Maison&Objet, the curator who selected the participants for the event at Gauri Khan Designs, said, “These designers as well as our sponsors Vita Moderna, Nitco Tiles and Jaipur Rugs are presenting a collection that translates the essence of the show. Art, avant-garde design, craftsmanship, techniques and innovative use of materials mark these collections. “

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