If cubes were wishes

Jul 01, 2012, 10:59 IST | Arjun Mehta

The French and the Indians are collaborating on two installations that will be exhibited at Mumbai CST and High Street Phoenix to draw attention to the work of NGO Snehasadan, and the plight of the city's street children

This monsoon, art installations take a new shape and form to epitomise the work of India’s oldest NGO for children, Snehasadan. The project, called 50 Years of Love — Snehasadan, is the brainchild of Claude Nevers, the director of the French Association for Abandoned Childhood (AFEA). In order to bring this event to Mumbai, Nevers has collaborated not only with The Art Loft, an art education centre in Bandra, but also with the children in Snehasadan, who have been an integral part of creating the art installations.

Children and artistes work together to compose art installations

The six-day event will display two art installations, which draw inspiration from the concept of change. “Change, I feel, is a topic that people from all walks of life in Mumbai can relate to in this diverse city,” says Leila Tayebaly, founder, Art Loft. Four French artistes, collectively called Hypothese 222, namely, Vincent Lauth, a producer and filmmaker, Christine Delbeck, a multimedia artist, Emmanuelle Grand, a painter and glass artist and Alain Steck, a painter, have put together the first installation called The Cubes.

The Cubes, based on an old European game for kids, is composed of 15 cubes of 1.20 meters on each side. Each cube is covered with adhesive tape listing the names of all 125 participants who created it, kids between the ages of six and 18. The kids were divided into different groups comprising boys and girls and kids from Snehasadan as well as street children. Each group met for five sessions over three weeks to create this installation, which ultimately expresses the children’s own experiences and their dreams and wishes.

On the other hand, three Indian artists, namely, Arzan Khambatta, architect and sculptor, Brinda Miller, painter, and Sunil Padwal, painter, put together the second art installation, The Dream Catcher. To zero in on one idea for this installation, the trio walked the narrow lanes of Pydhonie, Mohammad Ali Road and Chor Bazaar, where they came across many materials to build their installation with, but finally decided to use mousetraps as the appropriate thematic element.

The Dream Catcher is in the shape of a cube, representing a house with an underlying idea similar to that of a wishing tree. It is covered with wish cards and other objects such as toys that the kids have collected. “We worked closely with the children and asked them for their wish lists. Their wishes ranged from wanting to be Michael Jackson and dance like him to wanting to help the poor,” says Miller.

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