Young boys frolic about on pipelines in Bandra
It's hard to believe that Zaheer Zulfqar Choudhary, 19, and Ansari Mateen, 20, are amateur rappers. Recently, the duo from the slums of Govandi brought the house down at their first public set in Delhi, during a festive meet organised by Digital Empowerment Foundation and A-CODE to celebrate art for social justice and digital inclusion. The teens who have harboured a soft spot for rapping for a while have been undergoing training sessions under the upcoming Govandi Arts Festival's mentorship programme for youth from the community. "We were nervous and practised day and night for the show," shared Mateen. Zaheer added that now, they both consider taking up rapping as a profession. "We were always keen on rapping but this programme helped us understand beats, lyrics, songs and more," he said.
The Indian art market, although in the emergent stage, is booming. IIMA-AuraArt Indian Art Index is a newly launched tool that tracks the price appreciation journey of Indian artists at auctions globally. Created by IIM-A with city-based Aura Art Development Pvt Ltd, it works on a data-driven methodology that analyses price variations in art auctions of top 25 Indian artists including MF Husain and SH Raza over 20 years. Professor Prashant Das who conceptualised the algorithm, said, "The idea is to bring transparency to the pricing of art. It establishes art as an asset class."
It's difficult to keep celebrity chef Gary Mehigan away from Mumbai, or rather India. Months after his last visit, the popular chef, restaurateur and former Masterchef Australia judge is headed to the city in December once again. This time, he will be here not just for his pet pooja, but to also serve up his award-winning fare for diners in Mumbai, apart from Bengaluru and Delhi. "For the Conosh dinner series, I will be cooking a menu with some of my favourite flavours and textures. To name a few dishes - a warm brioche with jackfruit rendang, a dish of crispy Vietnamese green rice prawns and nuoc mam, a chwee kueh with laksa, and flaky bastilla of Australian lamb. For dessert, there will be flavours of chocolate and orange," he revealed about the popup at a five-star in Bandra. Mumbai, he added, is a city that's obsessed with food. "So, I will never turn down an opportunity to visit and create an event where people can come and enjoy my food, and I can hit the street and eat theirs," he told us.
Aquasaurus, Jitish Kallat, part of the exhibition Asymmetrical Objects at Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum in 2018
As the world fights climate change, cultural repositories are expected to lead their way in their respective capacities. An upcoming virtual roundtable discussion called Waking Up To The Fierce Urgency will discuss how museums can facilitate climate concerns. Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, director, Dr BDL Museum, said, "I will be in discussion with curators, artists and activists whose work examines the issue of climate change which is the most urgent problem that confronts humanity today.
It will focus on the responsibilities that art and curatorial practices have today to draw attention to these immense challenges. Our discussion will also incorporate the role of effective collaborations between individuals and organisations to rethink our approach to the environment and the future." She added that museums should provide a safe space for such discussions and encourage critical thinking to explore possibilities to mitigate these challenges.
A panel from Aaapki Poojita by Adhiraj Singh and Sumit Kumar. Pic courtesy/Bakarmax
We have all met the ever-smiling, over-sanskaari, ideal Indian woman on our TV screens. But what happens when this chirpy, sacrificing good daughter steps out of the reel, and into the real. Aaapki Poojita, which is touted as the first animation show for grown-ups in India, follows the journey of one such protagonist who grew up on TV, quite literally, as India's sweetheart, till the 2000s. And now, her ideal show is cancelled; she and the family have hit the streets where they must confront the real India. Conceptualised by Sumit Kumar and Adhiraj Singh of Bakarmax, the show is currently being crowd-funded online, having achieved its primary target in just eight days. It's a long road from when they developed it as a comic book. The show has since had a pilot episode on YouTube, been signed on by a popular OTT platform, canned amid the pandemic, and then rejected by popular web channels. "All OTT platforms were singing the same tune. They believed no one in India is going to watch animation for grown-ups. So, we resorted to a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign is of a month but we reached the target in eight days," Kumar said. The funds that are coming in now have been bookmarked for various stretch goals to bring Poojita's journey to life. "Even if the show fails, it has shattered the idea that people don't want to watch animation. It will help this industry grow," added Kumar.