Celebrating a decade of making space

Updated: Sep 15, 2019, 08:13 IST | Abhishek Mande Bhot | Mumbai

Saloni Doshi curates a show with works of artists who have reinterpreted their studio term at Space 118 for its 10th anniversary.

Saloni Doshi at Space 118. Pic/Suresh KK
Saloni Doshi at Space 118. Pic/Suresh KK

Since 2009, tucked away in Mazgaon's industrial wasteland, Space 118 has been a haven for artists from around the world. So far over 300 artists have used its studios on short-term residencies to create works of art and experiment with ideas, art forms, techniques, materials and methods.

To mark its tenth anniversary, Space 118 will collaborate with Sakshi Gallery to present Making Space, an exhibition that will feature works of 33 artists who've been part of its residencies. Saloni Doshi, art curator and director of Space 118 will curate the show, the proceeds of which will go to the artists and towards the publication of the book, Mapping Residencies in India—Post Independence starting from the Sarabhais till today.

Boy bathing in talaab, Baran by Gauri Gill
Boy bathing in talaab, Baran by Gauri Gill

Doshi's interest in art began in her early 20s when she started buying paintings from her earliest paycheques. "I invested in mutual funds for all of one year," she says. Following two post-graduate diplomas—Doshi holds a degree in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics—and a few years in a nine-to-five job, she realised she wanted to be part of the art world. She knew she didn't want to start a gallery or some sort of a commercial venture. What then? That answer came when she accompanied a group of like-minded people to Vadodra.

She recollects: "Because of the cost of living and (the presence of) MSU (Maharaja Sayaji Rao University) several of the artists have made the city their home. They invited us to see their studios and their works. Till then, my only interactions were with gallerists and art dealers; I'd never met artists. When I returned to Mumbai I began looking for similar setups and realised that there were none!"

Sculpture by Parag Tandel will be one of the artworks on display at Sakshi Gallery
Sculpture by Parag Tandel will be one of the artworks on display at Sakshi Gallery

That's when Doshi began reaching out to her contacts in the business—Bose Krishnamachari and Arshiya Lokhandwala among others—to visit the space she'd identified. It was a shed in a family-owned warehouse complex in Mazgaon. "There was soot all over, tin windows and it all needed a lot of work to make it look this way," she says of the office where paintings and sculptures surround her antique wooden desk. Space 118 today is a small piece of gentrified sanctuary in the heart of warehouse land. Potted plants line up all the way to the office, the studios are bright and freshly painted, a kitchen and a clean toilet and trees tower over the sheds.

Anyone with an art degree can apply for residencies at Space 118; selected artists are offered studio space and a flat in nearby Churchgate. They're invited to art workshops that Space hosts and have access to its library; their arrival is announced on social media and they're kept updated of all the events happening in the city. Their work is displayed at the end of the residencies. "And we have a senior artist who visits the studios," Doshi says.

Doshi has also launched the Space 118 Fine Arts Grant which will select one artist who'll work with them from November to December and will get a two-month solo show at the Mumbai Gallery Weekend. The artist will also get airfare, food and R1 lakh as stipend. Also launched is the Space 118 Contemporaries programme which involves two artists who will work with the writer through which they get a two-month studio stay and a stipend of Rs 25,000. "The idea is to open out studio practice to the world," she says.

Where: Sakshi Gallery, 3rd Pasta Lane, Colaba
When: September 19 to October 19
Call: 22823027

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