Mumbai: Mahalaxmi Racecourse Hosts Debut Art Fair, Blending Elegance & Artistry

Mumbai: Mahalaxmi Racecourse Hosts Debut Art Fair, Blending Elegance & Artistry

The event draws attention from Mumbaikars, featuring prominent figures on its first day; over 53 art galleries showcased diverse artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs

Priyanka ChandaniUpdated: Friday, November 17, 2023, 12:38 PM IST
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Art Mumbai | Salman Ansari

Mumbai: On Thursday, the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in South Mumbai witnessed a shift in focus from horses to the eagerly anticipated debut of Mumbai's own art fair. The event marked a significant moment for the maximum city, attracting a particularly excited audience in South Mumbai on its first day, with a majority of the city's prominent figures in attendance.

Given that the event’s venue and the set-up were so up-class, the four-day art extravaganza was clearly not a vibe for a serious art lover. However, one can’t take away the beauty and amazing artwork on the display.

53 art galleries showcase their artwork

With over 53 art galleries showcasing their artwork, paintings, sculptures, and photographs, Mumbai Art has everything that one expects from an art show. From Jhaveri Contemporary, Nature Morte, and Experimenter, to Aicon on Gallery and Aicon on Contemporary (New York), and 1X1 (Dubai), to a sculpture park featuring some of the stunning artworks by Indian artists, the well-planned boutique event aced up the city’s glamour and entertainment.

Among the artworks that stand out is Vivan Sundaram’s curation of ‘Year of the Barricades, 1967’. It features letters, prints, notes, clothes, and a flag on a wood frame. Each element on the board has references to the student protests and ensuing civil unrest that took place across France in May 1968. Through his artwork, he maps the history of images, texts, and objects. Re-take, another feature by Sundaram depicts photographs of ‘Amrita’ based on photographs taken by Umrao Singh Sher-Gil.

The sculpture garden at Art Mumbai is an initiative to highlight art in outdoor spaces. The works are composed in primarily two sections of a garden area; one which deals with animals and nature along with the correlation to man, and the second which moves into more human forms that hold a correlation to elements of the earth such as wind and water.

For instance, an artwork titled ‘Pyramidal Love’ by sculpture artist Harsha Durugadda is a larger-than-life sculpture carved in sandstone resembling a close-knit stack of pyramids. The forms seem to emerge from the ground intersecting and overlapping with each other to reach a union at their pinnacles implying growth and metamorphosis. “The concept of Pyramidal Love is inspired from Hasidic Rabbi Abraham Twerski who talked about the difference between selfish love and true love, the latter being a love of giving and not of receiving. In all living forms amalgamation is the key that gives birth to new love, life, and emotions,” said Durugadda. The artwork by the artist was supported by RMZ Foundation by Anu Menda. "Our vision is to bring art into public display and encourage artists from across the country," said Menda.

“The concept of Pyramidal Love is inspired by Hasidic Rabbi Abraham Twerski who talked about the difference between selfish love and true love, the latter being a love of giving and not of receiving. In all living forms amalgamation is the key that gives birth to new love, life, and emotions,” said Durugadda.

Another sculpture of a horse by artist Valay Shende surely steals the show. Minute-sized stainless steel discs dazzle in Shende’s horse. An artistic statement of the life of a horse in the urban fabric of a metropolis, in which he captures the tension between tradition and modernisation in native India. The poise and posture of the horse look every bit heroic and a perfect emblem of nature.

Creativity catches spectators' attention

The artworks on the display are a wonderful amalgamation of contemporary and conventional. For instance, a statue of Mahatma Gandhi with earphones caught many eyes. For photography, some of the pictures of old Bombay by Chemould Prescott Road are a must-stop. The series of pictures of Pushpamala N’s Phantom Lady-2 where she poses as a stunt woman as well as a lead actor.

While the art ecosystem in Mumbai is thriving, art fairs like these bring fresh interest and newer audiences. However, what is missing from the entire scene is the art students and the art practitioners. Clearly, the organisers were focusing on adding glamour and entertainment more than building an art scene. The first day concluded with Tarun Tahiliani’s fashion show.

Salman Ansari

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