Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier
The city - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce.
Living on a prayer
A kid steals a glance at a statue of Goddess Durga at a workshop in Lalbaug on Friday. Pic/ Suresh Karkera
The venue plays its art
Before the lockdown robbed Mumbaikars of live events, Mahalaxmi's G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture functioned as a venue for niche performances that spanned different art forms including theatre and music. Now, given the pandemic and its resultant restrictions, they are revamping and have introduced two new elements — G5A Imprint and G5A Academy.
The former is a literary arts and culture magazine while the latter is aimed at reinforcing depth and rigour within contemporary arts practices. Elaborating on the academy, Sukriti Sharma, who's heading it, said, "We wish to bring the focus back to the slow and mindful process of immersion within artistic practice through a deeper engagement with art, the artist, and the environment in which they create."
Loo and behold, this is a cool idea
The idea by Bombay61, an experimental think tank, was to design a self-sustainable community toilet within a dense neighbourhood
The Volume Zero Competition, an international design competition dedicated towards architecture and design innovation, held a contest called The Little Big Loo that asked participants to rethink public toilets.
And we were happy to see that a design by Bombay61, an experimental think tank, made the top 50 list. Conceptualised by founding partners Ketaki and Jai Bhadgaonkar, the design was called The Poop-Hood and was rooted in the fact that 70 per cent of Mumbai's population lives in informal settlements. So, they proposed a self-sustainable community toilet with a module design, which views human waste as a resource that can be used to generate cooking gas and bio fertilizer via a biodigester technology. This, in turn, will bring the community together for activities such as farming, cooking or socialising.
"We created a module because of the dense settlements which makes it difficult to locate a toilet. Thus, the accessibility had to be improved," said Ketaki, while Jay told this diarist that they hope to propose the model to the city's municipal corporation, after the practicality and materials are worked out.
Around 25 years ago, when Zakir Hussain was shooting for the famed Wah! Taj TV commercial with director Sumantra Ghosal, the latter realised that there was no record of the tabla maestro's craft. "We then proceeded to make the film without any corporate financing," Ghosal reminisced about The Speaking Hand, which will be screened online on October 30. What emerged was a narrative of the journey of the tabla and how it particularly transformed through Hussain's hands.
"It also documents a genius, talking about his art and ideas. And viewers will be blessed to see him play with musical stalwarts," he said, adding that he and Hussain will also be available for a Q&A post the screening.
Animated surprise in Japan for artist
For animators, Japan is the mecca of animation. So, when artist and filmmaker Nina Sabnani learnt that her National Award-winning animated film Hum Chitra Banate Hai was showcased at the popular Muse Charity event in the country, she was over the moon. The film was made at IIT Bombay and is based on the tradition of painting of the Bhil tribe of Madhya Pradesh.
It also inspired the picture book A Bhil Story (Tulika Books). "The film even had Japanese subtitles. The people there are subtle in their communication, so I would love to know how they responded," Sabnani told this diarist.
Another SoBo art gallery, Jamaat, is ready to open its doors to art enthusiasts in the new normal with viewing only by prior appointment. About the move, gallerist and co-owner Pravina Mecklai shared, "Our staff lives far away. With train services stopped, many have to take the bus to get to work, which has increased their travel time. Keeping in mind their convenience, we have shortened the gallery hours to 11.30 am to 5 pm. For safety reasons, we won't be hosting any new openings or serving food and beverages. But we have shifted our focus a lot more to virtual viewings." She also added how the gallery is now working on widening its reach beyond geographies through social media, photography and videography. "I must confess, we used to be lax about our virtual presence before the pandemic. As the world changes, we have learned to be comfortable with it," Mecklai said.
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