Mumbai: Artist, whose Tendulkar artwork was uprooted from Marine Drive, unhappy with BMC

Artist Jaideep Mehrotra, who made the artwork on Master Blaster, not pleased with the BMC and also the public for not ‘respecting artworks’

Since the Sachin Tendulkar artwork on Marine Drive has undergone a change of address, creator, artist Jaideep Mehrotra is not happy. Mehrotra, who was commissioned by art aficionado Harsh Goenka’s RPG Foundation to make this artwork, said, “An artwork can never deface any surface or public facility. I think there is some ego of the people involved, and I am shocked that it is such a challenge to promote art in the city.”

Artist Jaideep Mehrotra (left) and Dilip Vengsarkar near the artwork when it was installed at Sasmira Junction in Worli in 2014Artist Jaideep Mehrotra (left) and Dilip Vengsarkar near the artwork when it was installed at Sasmira Junction in Worli in 2014

“‘Sad’ is the word I will use for it. Then, there is the artistic anguish too to see your work being pulled out of the ground and relocated. However careful or sensitive you are, there is bound to be some damage to the work,” he added.

The artwork was uprooted from Marine Drive on Tuesday. Pics/Suresh Karkera
The artwork was uprooted from Marine Drive on Tuesday. Pics/Suresh Karkera

The BMC had sent a notice the Foundation asking it to remove the artwork from the iconic sea-facing boulevard after citizen and welfare groups raised objection to its installation. “I have read some reports saying the artwork is going to be re-installed in Bandra, though I do not know how credible that is. All I would want is that the work moves to a place where it is prominent and enough people can see it,” added the artist.

The artwork work was first installed in Worli (near Sasmira) in 2014 and the due to some lease issues, it was moved to Marine Drive promenade in 2015. Now, the work has been uprooted from there and its installation at Carter Road promenade is subject to the Maritime Board’s approval.

While talking about how public art installations are not welcomed in the city, Mehrotra said, “Those who are trying to promote art are finding it tough doing it. There was a problem with a sculpture from another artist that was to be put up near Crawford Market. Why should there be so many issues when it comes to public display of art which can be enjoyed without payment by so many people?”

He wasn’t too happy about how his artwork on the Master Blaster was mistreated by public. He succinctly said, “I wish our public also learns to respect the artworks. There has been some damage to the Sachin work because of the public poking and prodding it. They have tried to bend it in some places. I am thrilled to see people actually standing in front of art works and taking pictures, but this unnecessary trying to touch them and bend them, is just not right,” he said.

The artist, though, has not let this dampen his spirit and is working on another public installation to come up at Carmichael Road. He said, “I feel, when the artworks come across such obstacles, the situation is saddest for those who commission them. It makes people wonder whether it is worth it after all,” he signed off before going back to work on his next installation.

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