Aboard the creative ship

Jul 31, 2012, 09:53 IST | Soma Das

Come August 10 and non-profit art residency, Last Ship, at Bandra will showcase projects made by their three artists-in-residence. Art school, the Julius Macwan Institute, will also be launched in Mumbai on the same day and will adjoin Last Ship

In March 2011, artist Julius Macwan founded Last Ship, an artist residency studio in Bandra’s bustling Chuim Village, off Khar Danda Road. Over a year has passed, and Macwan is excited about what’s in store in the coming months.

“On August 10, our current three artists-in-residence will present their projects. It’s also the day when we shall launch my art school — the Julius Macwan Institute, in Mumbai, adjoining Last Ship. We will have Tanja Verlak from Slovenia, and Sahil Mane from Mumbai as our next photographer-artists while filmmaker artist Natasha Mendonca joining us in September,” he says.

The office space which is usually converted into exhibition space when the residency projects are put on display

The upcoming exhibition will feature experimental paintings by Chandni Vora, multi-disciplinary artworks by Vaibhav R Shah and collage drawings as a mural by Shubhalakshmi Shukla.

How it works
Over a year, Last Ship has hosted between 10 to 12 artists who have worked for a few weeks to a few months at the residency. This residency is also not restricted to artists alone but is open to creative souls of all leanings who wish to produce something exciting.

Vaibhav R Shah creates multi-disciplinary artworks at the Last Ship

Up to three artists can work and live at Last Ship at a time, usually, for a period of up to three months for each of their projects. Prospective artists have to submit project proposals and are selected based on the merit of the project they propose to create. Once selected, they are offered residence and studio space for their project. Completed projects are then exhibited at Last Ship, or other venues.

When Macwan started Last Ship his vision was to create a spot where artistic freedom was ensured. “It is a place where artistic minds can think freely, without the pressures of daily life and the markets, etc, so that we may all benefit out of the result. The concept is much like the glory and adventure pirates find in unexplored waters,” he adds.

Art for all
Born and raised in Mumbai, Macwan has been working for the benefit of artists for several decades. After studying Fine Arts from the Sir JJ School Of Art, he started his own small art school in Chennai called the Julius Macwan Institute in the1990s. “I am also prolific with my own work, and am currently working on a graphic novel that I am writing and illustrating myself,” he states.

Explaining the symbolism of the name ‘Last Ship’, Macwan says, “It came to me in a flash because I had been feeling the stifling and the lack of freedom and original ideas that art is going through. I needed some fresh air, and a different way of working from the rigid structures that now make up our world. I realised that the way pirates functioned when lands were still undiscovered was how we needed to function. And, we may be the last to do so.”

Summing up the philosophy of Last Ship, Macwan says, “The Julius Macwan Institute is the mother. The way we need Last Ship to function is the way the Julius Macwan Institute functioned in Chennai in the 1990s. The only difference is the institute taught, whereas Last Ship is for people who have found themselves but need the place.”

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