Taking the cliche out of kitsch

Updated: 20 November, 2019 09:04 IST | Prachi Sibal |

From art and design to architecture and all the way to food, a panel discussion is set to bring the focus back to form

BEST buses lend itself to kitsch
BEST buses lend itself to kitsch

What sets kitsch apart from the classical? What constitutes kitsch in the first place? And how did a form with roots in Germany become so easily associated with Mumbai?

Multipolis Mumbai: Kitsch and the City, a panel discussion by the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Ministry of Culture and Avid Learning is set to decode kitsch in the city. Tracing its evolution in visual art, design, architecture and fashion all the way to food and the spoken word, panellists — Pavitra Rajaram, creative director, Pavitra Rajaram Design and former lead designer, Good Earth, Sneha Raisoni, co-founder, Plan B and founder, Tappu ki Dukaan and Pankil Shah, co-founder, Bombay Vintage — will also disband myths around it.

Sneha Raisoni; Pavitra RajaramSneha Raisoni; Pavitra Rajaram

"Kitsch has historically been seen as a low art form and doesn't find place in museums, but is as valuable as classical art," says Rajaram defining it as "an amalgamation of composite cultures." "And Mumbai is a microcosm of that. From its language to street art, the transport system and the street food," she adds. She sees it in the Chinese bhel, the cake-like façade of Saifee Hospital and the graffiti that once covered vast stretches of the walls on the Tulsi Pipe Road.

Raisoni sees it in autorickshaw meters, the BEST bus tickets and in the images of the Gateway of India on clothing. "Kitsch was born from the masses not being able to afford art and creating their own using everyday elements. And now people are owning it," she says.

Chinese Bhel lend itself to kitsch

Moderated by Latika Khosla, founder, Colours India and Freedom Tree Design, the discussion will also offer ruminations on the future of kitsch and its proliferation in the hospitality industry.

November 20, 6 pm
At NGMA, Sir Cowasji Jehangir Public Hall, MG Road, Fort.
Call 22881969

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First Published: 20 November, 2019 08:45 IST

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