Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Look Ma, I'm on air
A fitness enthusiast indulges in freestyle exercise at Shivaji Park on Sunday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Gaitonde does it again
Untitled, oil on canvas, 1974 (60 x 40 in) by VS Gaitonde. Pic courtesy/Pundole's
An untitled artwork by the late VS Gaitonde from 1974 set a new world record for Indian art when it sold for Rs 32 crore at an auction by the city-based Pundole's last week, making it the most expensive Indian artwork. The oil on canvas piece was part of Pundole's auction, titled Looking West: Works from the Collection of the Glenbarra Art Museum, Japan.
Dadiba Pundole, owner of the auction house, shared why the record is special: "Gaitonde was the previous holder for the most expensive Indian artwork and he's now set a new benchmark again. The gallery has had a long relationship with Gaitonde, and I'm pleased for him. What's also crucial is that this is the first time an Indian artwork has broken the five-million-dollar barrier, which is a significant threshold for the future."
If not now, when?
A protest by If We Do Not Rise volunteers at Dadar
With videos of protest songs, poetry, live discussions and art taking social media by storm in the past week, #IfWeDoNotRise is a public movement led by hundreds of women's groups, members of the LGBTQIA+ community and human rights organisations against the attacks on the Constitutional rights of Indians. Shraddha RR, a volunteer of the Maharashtra chapter, tells us the movement was launched on August 31, and culm-inated on September 5, marking the third anniv-ersary of the assassination of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, as a day of resistance.
"There's been an unprecedented rise in the targeted attacks on minorities, uptick in unemployment and economic downturn, and a crackdown on dissent. Artistes, activists, students and the public have joined the movement online and offline to protest against this," Shraddha said, adding the fight will continue.
The growing space of online literary festivals has a new entrant: The Peninsula Book Fest, a collaboration of four leading California-based libraries which features over 60 international writers. Participating in a panel organised by the San Mateo Public Library tomorrow along with other distinguished writers Irenosen Okojie and Ricco Siasoco, is Mumbai-based author Murzban F Shroff who will speak about how the pandemic has influenced his writing.
"It has impacted me at two levels," Shroff told this diarist, adding, "As a writer, I am greatly fascinated by the dystopian reality, the whole notion of humankind having to face its own mortality, its own fragility. But, on a personal level, I am deeply concerned about my family and friends. So, the work that started pouring out was, stran-gely, poetry, which delivered to me some soulful insights, and a series of short stories that focused largely on human frailty." To tune in, visit San Mateo County Poet Laureate's Facebook page.
Capturing the silence of the lockdown
A picture from the photo book Dialects of Silence: Delhi Under Lockdown
A positive side to the pandemic was how it managed to inspire all kinds of creative pursuits, and continues to. One such visual testimonial has emerged from the lens of Parul Sharma's new title, Dialects of Silence: Delhi Under Lockdown (Roli Books). Explaining the idea behind this visual chronicle, she said, "Photographers have a responsibility to document the present before it becomes history.
What their eyes see, what their lens captures, and what the people who see these photographs feel is a kaleidoscope of our times and a telescope into our future. This pandemic will pass as have others before it. The world and its dauntless citizens will survive and move on with their lives, their livelihoods, their joys, and sorrows. But this virus has brought home the one lesson we all needed to learn inevitably. What you give to the world is what you get from it."
Allies of transgender people
Even as India unlocks in various phases, the impact of the past six months will be felt for a long time. One of the worst-hit in this regard is the already marginalised transgender community, who are mostly dependent on alms, skin trade and celebrations, shared trans rights activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi. Through her initiative Kin-eer, Tripathi has launched a fundraiser to support the community members.
"The lack of proper government docu-mentation increases the misery as relief packages are out of bounds. We started serving meals and assisted 45,000 families with donated ration, but aspects like rent, electricity, gas bills, and school fees, also need to be addressed," explained Tripathi. To lend them a helping hand, log on to ketto.org.
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