The busy city of dreams might seem to many as the one without a heart. You’ll always see people on the move, rarely stopping. Everyone is busy chasing their dreams and rarely have time or energy to stop and appreciate the finer points of life.
But to the fact is that even this bustling megapolis has an artistic side it. Art galleries like the Jehangir Art Gallery in Fort area are testimonies to the artistic side of the city. Once in a while, though, the entire city comes together to celebrate the arts and culture. This leads to a show case of colour and imagination, that cannot be described in words.
Kalaghoda – A place dedicated to Art and Culture.
Many of us would have passed through this statue enroute to the Gateway of India or Colaba, without any idea of its importance. This quite area is surrounded by some famous biggies – Jehangir Art Gallery, The David Sasoon Library, Knesset Eliyahoo Synagogue, The Gateway of India, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj museum etc. Due to the presence of the biggies nearby, this place is often missed and people do not understand the importance.
But once in year (February of each year), this place comes alive with the best of arts with some rich and fantastic art work on display. Artistic installations, theater workshops, activities for kids, Q & A sessions with celebrities, Do it yourself and many activities. Spread across the entire art district of South Mumbai, the place comes alive for a week.
Kalaghoda (the Black Horse) is a crescent shaped art district located in the Fort Area of South Mumbai. Surrounded by heritage buildings on all sides, it hosts the famous Kalaghoda Art Festival every year.
The area got the name Kalaghoda because of the presence of a black stone statue of King Edward VII riding a horse. This statue was removed from the precinct in 1965 and placed inside the Byculla Zoo. The current statue of the black horse without the rider was commissioned in 2017 by the Kalaghoda Association. The statue titled “The Spirit of Kalaghoda” was designed by architect Alfaz Miller and sculpted by Shreehari Bhosle (Source)
Located in the Fort area, next to the museum and the Jehangir Art Gallery, the closest rail head is the Churchgate station on the western line. The CSMT station is about 20 mins from here. This place is on the way to the Gateway of India.
The Esplanade Mansion, India’s oldest surviving cast iron building, is in Kala Ghoda. Formerly known as Watson’s Hotel, it was the site where films were introduced to India with a screening of the Lumiere Brothers Cinematograph in 1896.Prior to the founding of the Bombay Stock exchange, merchants often traded shares at the junction of Rampart row and Meadow street. (Source)
The Kalaghoda Arts Festival
The Kalaghoda Arts Festival is an annual 9 day event that always begins on the first Saturday of February and ends on the Second Sunday of the same month. Started in the year 1999, the festival marked its 20th Anniversary this year. This was my first visit to the festival and thanks to the amazing experience, I’ve promised to return the next year too.
The Festival is organised by the Kala Ghoda Association (a non-profit organisation that states its objectives as “physically upgrading the Kala Ghoda sub-precinct and making it the Art District of Mumbai”) and curated by teams handling each of the 12 sections of the festival. This year the festival ran between the 1st and the 9th of February.
The categories of the festival includes
- Visual Arts
- Literature (including Children’s literature as sub section)
- Heritage Walks
- Urban Design and Architecture
- A dedicated section for children
- A vibrant street section including stalls selling eco friendly, hand made arts and crafts wares
The main venue that includes the street section (which appeals to most of the visitors) happens at the Kalaghoda premises itself. However, different venues are allocated for different categories of the festival. These are in and around the precinct and can be reached easily.
- The Garden At The David Sassoon Library
- The Lawns And Auditoriums At The The Museum
- The Cross Maidan
- The Horniman Circle Garden
- The M C Ghia Hall
- The Cafeteria At Westside
- The Tata Store At Army And Navy Building
- The Auditorium At The National Gallery Of Modern Art
- The Max Mueller Bhavan (Mmb) Gallery And
- The Entire Street Area Of Kaikashru Dubash Marg And Its Parking Lot, Popularly Called Rampart Row
Entry to all events is free to all (only restricted by the size of the venues) and costs are met through corporate sponsorship.
My first visit to the festival
Due to time constraints, I visited the festival on the last day i.e. 9th February. This meant that I could not cover all the different venues and only restricted myself to the street art section at the Kalaghoda precinct. This was also an experience in itself with various artists selling their wares and unique art installations installed across the street. Its an experience that cannot be expressed in words and can only be experienced by visiting personally.
Some Clicks from the venue
Last day crowd waiting to get inside
Stalls inside the Venue
The art installations were mesmerizing and unique ideas of the artists minds. It pointed to one section of our daily life. Hatsoff to the imagination of the artist
Swinging forward – A lost childhood.
The Game of Threads
Carousel of Happiness
Look @ Mumbai
The trapped dolphin.
The String of Connection
Over the top – Bachpan Bachao
The end note
This wonderful trip was followed by another 45 minutes of fun filled and informative activity. But more about that in the later post. Hope you enjoyed this post. Please leave your comments and feedbacks. Until next time Good bye and see you soon