Mumbai: Artwork on Sachin Tendulkar declared out even before it got installed in Bandra
BMC rule leads to cancellation of re-inauguration of artwork on Sachin Tendulkar at Carter Road in Bandra
An installation dedicated to master blaster Sachin Tendulkar has been declared out even before it walked out of the pavilion. The artwork, by well-known artist Jaideep Mehrotra, was going to be inaugurated by Amitabh Bachchan on May 1 at a traffic island at the end of Joggers Park in Bandra west. However, following a recent circular by BMC, it won't see the light of day at the spot.
The circular, issued by BMC's municipal commission for arts, music and culture (MCAMC) concerning submission of any proposal for installation of artwork, mural, sculpture, 'I love ward/area', wall painting, wall murals etc, in respective wards, stated: 'it should be ensured that the installation or sculpture or mural should not resemble any personality. In other words, statues should not be erected under the guise of a sculpture/mural'.
The cancellation has been particularly heartbreaking for Worli artist Mehrotra, who laughed wryly when asked about the latest development. "I do not know, there seems to be some bad luck." Mehrotra's artistic angst stems from the fact that this particular work, which was commissioned by industrialist and art patron Harsh Goenka's RPG Foundation, has been moving locations within Mumbai for years now.
Jaideep Mehrotra (left) with cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar when the installation was put up in Worli in 2014. File Pic
On the move
It was first installed at a traffic island outside Sasmira in Worli in June 2014. A year later, it was removed because of lease problems and installed at the Marine Drive promenade in 2015. In June 2016, it was pulled out from the SoBo boulevard. BMC had sent a notice to the RPG Foundation asking them to remove it after citizen and welfare groups raised objections.
Then, just a few months later, it was slated for a spot at the Carter Road promenade. However, there, the Bandra West Residents Association (BWRA) opposed the installation on the grounds that space on the public walkway will be eaten up.
The traffic island where the sculpture was to be installed under wraps
Lying in warehouse
The work was then lying in RPG's Worli warehouse for some time. On November 19, 2018, BMC gave permission for its new location near Joggers Park. This location also happens to be very close to Tendulkar's Perry Cross Road residence.
After it found a suitable home, the foundation gave a facelift to the traffic island at the end of the road. Invitation cards were sent out to many once Bachchan confirmed he would be happy to inaugurate it. "Now, we have communication that permission has been denied because installations cannot resemble a personality. The artist is heartbroken. We had sent an invite to Sachin Tendulkar too," said an RPG spokesperson.
The invitation card for the May 1 inauguration which stands cancelled
Sumeet Chatterjee, senior vice president of RPG brand and communications said, "We understand the good intent and rigour that underlies BMC and MCAMC's decision to create a level playing field for all public art initiatives; [but] we are extremely disappointed at this latest development. The RPG Art Foundation remains committed to its city beautification initiative and is hopeful of taking this towards a happy resolution."
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