Mumbai: Fashion designer Manish Arora wants people to give out love on the streets

Updated: Dec 10, 2017, 15:24 IST | Aastha Atray Banan

With his new installation, designer Manish Arora aims to inspire the people of Mumbai to give out the love

Love arrived on Peddar Road this week, thanks to fashion designer Manish Arora. If you are walking or driving by the Jindal Mansion, you won't miss the giant hanging installation made up of 2,400 coloured disks that have transformed the private residence's white exterior. The hand-embroidered and printed circles, which use fabric that Arora has sourced from all over the country (especially Chandni Chowk and Benares), and some leftovers from his collections, he hopes get the message across to passersby (art lover or not) that love is all you need. The giant pink heart at the core of the installation is only fitting. "The name just came by really recently, let's be honest. But the idea was already there. My work has always been about happiness, joy and love," says Arora, as we chat at Jindal Mansion. "The name came out in a phone call. I don't think the city needs love, but the people do for sure. People everywhere right now need love. The message is for everyone."

The fabric installation at Jindal Mansion on Peddar Road. pic/shadab khan
The fabric installation at Jindal Mansion on Peddar Road. Pic/shadab khan

The installation, orchestrated by St+art India as part of its 2017 Urban Art festival, is another effort to promote inclusive art. Arora spent hours in front of a computer conceptualising the pattern, and had to think about the wear and tear of the installation, which will be up for two weeks. The designer, whose aesthetic philosophy can be described as Indian kitsch, is no stranger to his designs being accepted by the ordinary Indian. "It's really art for all. Yesterday, there were two guys, just random people, standing outside and gazing at it. I asked them, what do you think, and they said simply 'bahut accha hai'. This is what we want. You don't need to understand the deeper meaning of it. You can, of course, but you don't need to. People on Instagram have been saying, 'oh, our drive on Peddar Road will be beautiful now'," he says. Giulia Ambrogi, co-founder of St+art India steps in here, "There was a mother and daughter who came up yesterday and thanked us. They said they stayed across the road, and now every morning would be different for them."

Manish Arora

The intent is intact - to make art a part of our daily lives. But how does one make it more than just an instagrammable site? For example, the Sassoon Docks Art Project, where a tapestry of art installations are available for everyone to enjoy, has become Mumbai's new hotspot to take pictures and post on social networking sites. "The fact is that you don't need to come here. You pass it. You don't have a choice but to consume it. Even if it makes you happy for five seconds, it's great," says another St+art co-founder Arjun Bahl. It could boil down to that one question - can art change the world? And Arora is quick to agree. "It is changing our country. Now that art is being seen by people who didn't consume it before, it can be used for putting out messages that need to be put out - especially social messages. For now, that message is - it is love is all we need."

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