In a unique initiative, leading contemporary art galleries in Mumbai bridge the divide between art and the public to inject fresh energy into the city’s art scene.
Held every year since 2012, Mumbai Gallery Weekend runs from 31 January to 4 February 2018 at 31 of the city’s most prestigious art spaces. Art Radar selects a few highlights not to miss.
A collaborative effort
Introduced to the city in 2012, the Mumbai Gallery Weekend (MGW) is a collaboration between Mumbai’s contemporary art galleries and various cultural institutions with the overall aim of engaging wider audiences. In the last six years the scope and reach of the MGW has significantly increased and it is now one of the most important events in the city’s cultural calendar. From nine contemporary art galleries participating in the 2012 edition, the MGW has evolved over time to include new art and cultural spaces, in order to bring together potential art collectors and enthusiasts to broaden both the reach and the relevance of contemporary art. Clearly, there is no better time to experience the city’s vibrant, exciting and diverse art scene than during these five days.
This year, the MGW runs from 31 January to 4 February 2018, and will be co-hosted by as many as 31 of the city’s most important art spaces, each with their own presentation, showcasing the works of more than 60 artists. It is by engaging two key strategies of art exhibitions and art conversations that the MGW is able to extend the traditional reach of galleries, to create an engaging environment for regular enthusiasts as well as an approachable public programme for new visitors.
This year there will be a number of panel discussions featuring leading figures of the Indian art world as well as lectures by art historians, museum professionals and contemporary Indian artists. MGW 2018 has also included artist-led walkthroughs at several participating galleries and collateral partners, a host of opening previews, dance performances and other art-focused programmes. The event has grown by leaps and bounds this year, to include more partners than ever before including Artsy, the Asia Society – India Centre and The Royal Opera House Mumbai amongst others and hopes to engage a wider audience than in its previous iterations.
As the MGW expanded its purview over the last five editions, the main endeavours have always remained consistent. It has striven to provide seasoned collectors with the art that they have always admired, to help art enthusiasts delve deeply into the best of Indian contemporary art, and to create a gateway for new audiences and the art collectors of the future. The organisers of MGW have always hoped to create an atmosphere that is inclusive, so as to counter the popular misconception that art spaces are unwelcoming and for a niche audience and clientele.
Art Radar highlights a few events from the jam-packed schedule of this year’s edition of the Mumbai Gallery Weekend.
1. “In the Honeycomb of Stories”, K.G. Subramanyan — Art Musings
Art Musings will showcase the works of the legendary artist K.G. Subramanyan in an exhibition that opens at the gallery on 31 January and continues until 10 March 2018. Subramanyan was an influential artist, educator and writer who had a significant impact on the trajectory of post-colonial Indian art. The exhibition features over 30 works, including drawings, gouaches and reverse paintings on acrylic sheets, representing over five decades of his artistic production, from 1963 to 2014. Art Musings will also host a talk-through on Saturday 3 February 2018, between the distinguished artist Sudhir Patwardhan and cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote on the art and legacy of Subramanyan, his impact on several generations of Indian artists and his continuing relevance as a major thinker.
2. “Asymmetrical Objects”, A Walk-Through — Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum
There will be a walk-through by some of the exhibiting artists of “Asymmetrical Objects” on Sunday 4 February 2018 at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum. In this exhibition that opened on 19 January and runs until 27 March 2018, ten of the country’s foremost artists, whose practice includes an interest in nature and science, explore the much-debated age of the Anthropocene, its impact on the environment and its effects on biodiversity. The exhibition endeavours to articulate a visual vocabulary that addresses these issues, and each artist has explored a different theme such as alienation, pollution, the politics of water and the destruction of landscapes.
3. “The Curious Seeker”, Madhvi Parekh — DAG Modern
This exhibition opens on Wednesday 31 January 2018 at DAG Modern and is a retrospective of self-taught artist Madhvi Parekh’s iconic works. The show will take viewers through five decades of her practice. Parekh begun her career in painting in 1964, and has been inspired by her artist-husband Manu Parekh along with various other artists such as Paul Klee and Joan Miro. Her paintings are vivid depictions of childhood memories, fantastical creatures, fables and divine beings. Replete with surrealistic imagery, Parekh’s compositions include folk motifs, legendary figures and imaginary characters in both figurative and abstract form. The exhibition represents every phase of her illustrious career and includes rare drawings and paintings from the 1960s, allowing visitors to see the continuity in her vision and her evolution as an artist. During the Mumbai Gallery Weekend, a walkthrough of “The Curious Seeker” will be conducted by the outreach team of DAG Modern on 2 February.
4. “The Complex Web of Time” by Dr. B.N. Goswami — CSMVS Mumbai
“India and the World” at the iconic CSMVS Museum shares with visitors nine stories drawn from important eras in India’s history. On display since 11 November 2017 and until 18 February 2018, it highlights the strong connections that India has shared historically with the rest of the world, promoting an exchange of ideas and influences that have helped create a global culture. The exhibition is presented as a collaboration between CSMVS, London’s British Museum and the National Museum, New Delhi, with the support of the Ministry of Culture. It showcases 104 important works of art from the Indian subcontinent in dialogue with 124 iconic pieces from the British Museum. As part of the Mumbai Gallery Weekend, Dr B.N. Goswami, art historian and former vice-chairman of the Sarabhai Foundation of Ahmedabad, will give a lecture on Saturday 3 February 2018 entitled “The Complex Web of Time – The Indian Painter and His Perceptions” at the Visitors’ Centre of CSMVS.
5. Kala Ghoda Festival 2018 — Kala Ghoda, Fort
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is the country’s largest multicultural festival, which takes place in the Fort area of Mumbai in February every year. The Festival draws visitors in large numbers, not just from the city, but from all over the country and the world. With a theme of “Hara Ghoda“ (‘green horse’), the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2018 brings to the stage, the wonders of nature shown through performance and art. The raging flames of the ‘Fire’ (agni) of victory, the liquid blue of ‘Aqua’ (jal), the indefinable ‘Air’ (vayu), the indestructible ‘Earth’ (prithvi) and the realms of ‘Space’ (akash) will all find their place and their artistic representation at this year’s festival. The events kick-off during the Mumbai Gallery Weekend on Sunday 4 February 2018, with the opening of “2020″ – an exhibition self-organised by a large group of artists, architects, filmmakers and theatre performers, as a response to the present and as a “group imagination” of the future. The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2018 will be open to the public at a series of different locations within the art district of the city until 11 February.
The Mumbai Gallery Weekend runs from 31 January to 4 February 2018 at 31 of the city’s most prestigious art spaces.
- 3 Indian Abstractionists to see: “Troika” at Art Musings, Mumbai – January 2017 – Art Musings brings together the works of Ram Kumar, Prabhakar Kolte and Laxman Shreshtha
- “Where the Water Takes Us”: weaving histories through time and space with Rithika Merchant in Mumbai – in conversation – January 2018 – Rithika Merchant’s first solo show at TARQ in Mumbai showcases her characteristic idioms of epics and myths An e
- An exhibition of contemporary art acquisitions at Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum – January 2018 – Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum presents an exhibition of its contemporary Indian art acquisitions, the first of its kind at the Museum
- India’s burgeoning art market: Saffronart online auction – round-up – December 2017 – Saffronart online auction in December 2017 confirms upturn in Indian art market
- “The Tour”: exploring spaces with emerging Indian artist Amshu Chukki – in conversation – December 2017 – Art Radar speaks to emerging Indian artist Amshu Chukki’s storytelling and landscapes are on display at Mumbai’s Chatterjee & Lal
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