Looking ahead 2019: Mumbai - A city for art, a city for all
Innovative art residencies, a children's museum, institutions celebrating milestone years with exhibitions, and a new hangout space for queer Mumbaikars - 2019 is about diversity
Coming in: January 18 and 26
To celebrate the first Pride Month after the decriminalisation of Section 377, Godrej India Culture Lab will be hosting Queeristan, a two part-event that explores the many intersections that shape Indian queerness. The first part will discuss what it means to be Dalit and queer in the country, featuring a panel discussion with academic and poet Dhiren Borisa, trans rights activist Grace Banu, and advocate and anti-caste activist Kiruba Munusamy. The concluding part will train the spotlight on Indian queer narratives with a focus on non-metro voices, through film screenings and discussions.
Coming in: Undecided
Mumbai-based Gaysi family, an online platform for queer representation, is now working to build a permanent physical space called the Gaysi café. When questioned if the new space will operate like a traditional café, co-founder Sakshi Juneja quips, “It will be a queer hangout cum café. Nothing queer can ever be traditional.” So, there will be food, drinks, music, theatre, and as Juneja says, please feel free to get your pets. The project might take more than a year to execute, and the organisation is currently
on the lookout for investors, with the Bandra-Juhu area in mind.
Coming in: February
When city chronicler Foy Nissen passed away in August 2018, he left a void in Mumbai's cultural landscape. The historian started out as the British Council's representative in Mumbai, and later, became an advisor for INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage). Several landmarks in the city with a heritage tag today have Nissen to thank. As a tribute to celebrate his work, the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation is organising a photography exhibition with frames from the city's past captured by Nissen, which promises to be a treat for history buffs.
A feminist turn
Coming in: First quarter
The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) is opening space in its four branches in Mumbai to facilitate feminist theatre. Professionals, amateurs and activists will be invited to use the space to present solo narratives or spoken word poetry on gender-related issues. The association is keen on hosting performances that require no microphones, lights or costumes. The bottomline is, “no one will be paid and no one will pay”.
Stories for li'l ones
Coming in: February 5
It's experiences like these that go a long way in ensuring that when one looks back on their childhood, they call it a happy one. As part of Story X'Press, an initiative of Akshara Children's Library in collaboration with Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, NGOs working with children will be invited to a daylong event of storytelling, where eight- to 14-year-olds can listen to an array of tales by authors and storytellers.
Coming in: January 16
If this wall art looks like an exquisite cushion cover to you, we don't blame you. Known for her penchant for working in organic and eco-friendly media, artist Bandana Jain has recreated the magic of Lucknowi Chikankari's jaali stitch on celluloid fibre paper. The artwork will be part of Fabricated Tales, Jamaat's 20th anniversary show, which will open as part of the Mumbai Gallery Weekend. Proprietor Pravina Mecklai loves showing unusual work, and this art show seems perfect for her milestone exhibition.
Going for gold
Coming in: October
The Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan will complete 50 years in Mumbai. To mark the occasion, a series of events will be presented in October, including a proposed exhibition by contemporary artist Nalini Malani, known to extend the definition of canvas to video and shadow plays. There will also be a performance directed by Daniel Wetzel, a name to reckon with in documentary theatre.
Space for ideas
Coming in: February
The Castiko Space that opened up last year in Aram Nagar in Versova established itself as an alternative performance space for many independent artistes, including indie filmmakers seeking mentorship from industry professionals. Catering to these demands, Castiko will now introduce an intensive course led by director Manish Jha. “There is a paucity of intensive courses for indie filmmaking. So, we felt, why not start a month-long course,” shares founder Shiv Tandan. But that isn't all that Tandan has to offer. The space will also offer an art residency and convert their performance area into a co-working space for artistes. While the art residency is free of charge, the artistes will have to contribute towards Castiko in return, in the form of curating events and drawing new audiences — some have already come onboard. The co-working scheme meanwhile is paid. “We can accommodate around 45 people and our plans start from '7,500 a month. This includes WiFi and storage, with rooms that have movable fixtures and can be adapted as per requirement,” Tandan says.
Coming in: All year
All roads will lead to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) in 2019 with plenty lined up throughout the year. The much-awaited children's museum is expected to open in January-February thus giving young minds a space of their own. Children have envisioned all the concepts and themes for the entire space. Another shot in the arm will be the second Museum on Wheels that is set to vroom out this year. “We would like to touch a million kilometres,” Sabyasachi Mukherjee, director at CSMVS told us, shedding light on the next step in this unique mobile educational experience that's been touching schools in the remotest parts of the state. An exhibition to look forward to, which Mukherjee is excited to bring down, will be a glowing tribute to Islamic Art and chronicle centuries of influences from far and near.
Little steps to reading
Coming in: Undecided
Dharavi Art Room, an initiative helmed by artists Himanshu S and Aqui Thami, is a safe space to empower children from marginalised communities through art. This year, the two plan on setting up a community library in the locality for children aged between six and 16 years. Fundraising for the Chota Library has already been initiated through crowdfunding platform Milaap, with a target amount of '12 lakh to cover annual expenses.
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