With the aim of maintaining and preserving the heritage and art district located in the south of Mumbai, Kala Ghoda Association was formed on 30th October 1998 and since 1999, conducts an annual 9-day long art festival, The Kala Ghoda Art festival that always starts on the first Saturday in February and closes of the Sunday of the next week.
Since its inception, it has attracted large crowds and has been a hit among art lovers from all over India and even the world, who have also contributed to the festival. Run by an NGO, the festival is curated into 14 sections handled separately such as Food, Heritage Walks, Children, Literature, Dance, Music, Cinema, Street, Workshops, Visual arts, Urban Design and Architecture, Theatre, Stalls and stand-up comedy.
Here are 10 most innovative installations at the Kala Ghoda Art festival.
1. Kaali Peeli
The Kala Ghoda festival has seen some creative art throughout its years since it first began, but maybe not something like the Kaali Peeli exhibit that excites viewers with something that’s just as common as taxi upholstery.
Rachel Lopez spent almost 2 years documenting the various colors and patterns on the vinyl car ceilings that, according to her, cover almost half of all the taxis in Mumbai. Named after the unassuming uniform of the black and yellow exterior, the Kaali Peeli Taxis explode with a burst of colors and patterns once you’re inside.
The name may spark a few memories, either the Brad Pitt movie Troy, where the Greek entourage sneak inside the Trojan Walls, or the computer virus that got into your PC. This exhibit displayed during the Kala Ghoda Festival is an abstract take on the former.
Standing around 15ft height, and made with fabricated pieces of metal welded together, its highlight is the green-colored beer bottles that give it a vibrant look in the sun. An innovative idea to make use of the glass bottles that flood in urban Mumbai, the exhibit does capture the attention of the crowd.
3. The Cycling Tree
An artwork that focuses on the environmental concerns regarding air pollution, caused by Transportation and a move to switch to bicycles that are friendly towards nature. The exhibit, displayed at the Kala Ghoda festival displays cycle rims, lit up at night, attached to what looks like branches of a tree, spun around with ropes of greens and browns.
It was created by team TAD Connect to focus on the health and environmental benefits of cycling and also for more people to take up the joy and art of cycling.
If an Ambassador car, coated with around 50 kilograms of Kumkum, that lets off an aromatic fragrance right from when you enter the Kala Ghoda Art Festival, isn’t enough to capture your attention, then the concept behind the exhibit might.
Designed by contemporary artist Hetal Shukla, “The car is his inquiry into the humble moral system that Lal Bahadur Shastri and his wife, Lalita Shastri, stood by in their lives. The installation’s social impact, much like its fragrance, is overwhelming,” says a source.
5. Waves of Communication – India Post
This exhibit presented by India Post under brand installations for the Kala Ghoda art festival was a real crowd-pleaser. The work portrays the growth and development of the postal services in India since the 1940s and how it is still important today. A waveform, wrapped with stamps of all kinds and also postcards were displayed along with the different iconic post boxes that have grown through the years in India.
The exhibit also included an interactive session with the post-women and -men to help demonstrate the e-banking services offered by the postal company.
6. Faces of Nature – Kinetic Installation
Faces of nature was a Kinetic installation presented at the Kala Ghoda Art Festival by designer Tushar Diwan to portray the two faces of nature – Saumya, and Raudra. Highly contradictory in its characteristics, they are two sides of the same coin and it is highly co-related to each other, No matter the era or time according to Tushar and his team.
This artistic piece transforms between both faces that signify the ever-evolving, ever-changing ‘face’ of nature and how it is closely related to our behavior with it.
This artwork represented the situation of urban Mumbai in today’s time, inching and jostling for a place to live. It showcases houses getting piled one on top of the other, the only way being upwards. It also portrays the dependency of the dwelling on nature and also how overpopulation increases the burden on the environment.
This art installation blends in with the overall theme of ‘Hara Ghoda’ theme that was represented in the Kala Ghoda Art Exhibition that year.
8. Urban Tree
As the name suggests, Urban Tree is an amalgamation of the Idea of how a forest could be represented in an abstract form in the Urban setting which was exhibited in the Kala Ghoda Art Festival in Mumbai.
Basically, an Urbanised version of a tree, created through strings attached on a frame to form triangles and patterns which translates to the network of wines and canopies that are features of a forest. Amplified by the mirrors looking higher, it creates the shadow effects caused by the canopies.
9. I am that I am
The silhouette of a tree for a distance, but up close, the exhibit not only displays another dimension in-depth but also in abstract meaning. The black-painted trunk splits into branches that in turn grow out as leaves, or so it may seem. Vehicle rearview mirrors are placed to replicate leaves to see oneself in the mirrors.
The exhibit, displayed at the Kala Ghoda Art festival represents life and how you view it, and it always is a reflection of one’s perspectives.
10. Fevicol A+ Ghoda
FeviCreate, A Pidilite initiative aimed at empowering creative thinking among school children presented an exhibit at the Kala Ghoda Art Festival. The interactive exhibit displayed at Rampart Row is a 10-foot high horse made of a variety of materials such as jute, foam, wood, paper, beads, and others—all glued together using Fevicol A+.
Aimed at fostering and encouraging hands-on experience to learn, the exhibit was presented as an incomplete one, the children completing it by the end of that 9-day long exhibition.