Rithika Merchant, Arcadia, 2020; (right) Art Musings will host a solo exhibition by Shilo Shiv Suleman titled Reincarnate: We Meet Here in the Afterlife
While virtual exhibitions reigned last year, the feeling of stepping into a gallery and facing a canvas is unmatched. It's an experience the Mumbai Gallery Weekend (MGW) is set to offer starting tomorrow. With a slew of showcases, here's what four art professionals suggest you check out.
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Independent arts consultant and curator Rashmi Dhanwani's top pick for MGW is Shilo Shiv Suleman's solo exhibition titled Reincarnate: We Meet Here in the Afterlife at Art Musings, where the contemporary artist delves into magical realism, technology and social justice. "I'm also finally hoping to catch Chirodeep Chaudhari's Seeing Time: Public Clocks of Bombay at Project 88, and because I work with a lot of mid-town galleries, I'm looking forward to visiting Tao, Art & Soul and Priyasri Art Gallery at Kathiwada City House, which is a new venue in the city and will host young artists. Another gallery I keep going to simply because of the plethora of work that they show from South India is Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke," she adds.
This year, every art space has something different to offer, reckons art advisor Farah Siddiqui. But it's Aditi Singh's show, Somethings are Always Burning, at Chemould Prescott Road that she's looking forward to the most. "It's her solo after a decade. I'm a big fan of her works and have acquired them for collectors. They are extremely sensitive - which is rare to find among contemporary artists today - and thought-provoking," she says. In addition, Siddiqui also recommends checking Tyler Street Art: A Solo Exhibition across Method's Kala Ghoda and Bandra venues. "To actually see works in their physical form is a real welcome change," she states.
Artist Brinda Miller can't contain her excitement to visit architect Rooshad Shroff's new gallery-cum-office in Horniman Circle - a fine addition to MGW with a display of intricately designed objects and furniture. Miller also asserts that both TAO Art Gallery and TARQ are special to her and Rithika Merchant's show Birth of a New World at TARQ is worth checking out. "I have been following Merchant's work right from when she completed her education in art. I've always loved it," she says.
Jhaveri Contemporary is opening doors in 2021 with a fresh start, by hosting UK-based artist Lubna Chowdhary's debut solo in India. It's a show featuring new paintings, collages and ceramics that arts manager Eve Lemesle is eagerly awaiting. Another pick is This Boat with a Broken Rim curated by Phalguni Guliani, presented by Mumbai Art Room at Kamalnayan Bajaj Art Gallery, and supported by the Inlaks India Foundation. "The show brings together artists from across international geographies, diverse mediums, and varying stages of practice - each of whom addresses the fragmented realities of border regimes and arbitrary assemblages, as experienced by both body and object as it passes through time. The artists are Hesselholdt & Mejlvang, Sudipta Das, Salik Ansari and Chinar Shah," she shares.
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Every now and then, there are hidden gems waiting to be discovered. At MGW this year, Naval Jijina's retrospective The Music Modern, curated by Dr Tarana Khubchandani at Art & Soul, sure counts as one of them. Jijina, 91, a reclusive Parsi abstractionist based in Andheri has a legacy intertwined with a Bombay art world many today are unacquainted with. Jijina grew up as an orphan and was trained to be a Parsi priest but in 1956, joined the Sir JJ School of Art. He delved into textile design and Indian classical music, and thus came to know VS Gaitonde. "Colours pass before my eyes and inspire me to paint. When I paint, the tape recorder is always on with Indian classical music," he shares. What does he feel about this retrospective? It makes him go down memory lane, reflecting on a "life of hardships coupled with a joy of surmounting odds."