Formed in 1998, the Kala Ghoda Association aims to preserve Kala Ghoda, the heritage and art district of South Mumbai. In order to raise awareness of the district’s culture, a Kala Ghoda Art Festival was initiated in 1999. It is held annually in the month of February for a period of nine days (starting from the first Saturday).
The festival is divided into twelve main sections: children, cinema, dance, food, heritage walks, literature, music, stalls, theatre, urban design and architecture, visual arts, and stand-up comedy. With the money raised, KGA has led several conservation and restoration projects in the area. Over the years, the festival has grown in scale and popularity, attracting participants from different countries as well.
Some of the interesting art pieces and installations created at the festival are as follows:
1. Ropes of Poverty | Kala Ghoda Art Festival
This installation was created by Vinod Guruji for KGAF 2020. The NGO created a 12 ft installation that aimed to throw light on child poverty. Symbols of child marriage, child labor, poor income, and loss of education were materialized. Visitors were asked to interact with the installation to experience the concept by pulling on a rope attached to it to move it along.
2. Tree60 degrees
The Tree60 degrees installation was created by Siddharth Waingankar, Pratik Aroskar, Kishor Gaonkar, Rahul Kokate for KGAF 2018. It showed a tree trunk that had been cut halfway to allow a cluster of buildings to grow from it. Weaverbird nests were strewn around and miniature railway tracks were wrapped around the trunk. The installation was a depiction of how urbanization has led to the depletion in the natural resources.
3. Kapala | Kala Ghoda Festival
This installation was designed by production designer Sukant Panigrahy for KGAF 2013. ‘Kapala’ or the skull is a personal muse for the artist. It was combined with waste computer hardware to create the installation. It was a statement of the growing association of the modern generation with technology.
4. Roots to Sky
This installation was developed by Toybank for KGAF 2019. It was in the form of a tree that was made using bicycle scrap. This was to symbolize how a healthy childhood (depicted through cycles) led to bright adulthood (depicted through the tree). This was analogous to how the strength of the roots contributed to the growth of the tree.
5. Chimes of Freedom | Kala Ghoda Art Festival
This installation was created by Sunita Kohli for KGAF 2016. It was a visual as well as an auditory art piece. It was a 12 ft fixture consisting of chimes made of aluminium pipes. Painted over these tubes were stories of people and objects that had made differences in people’s lives. The visitors were also encouraged to strike at these tubes using a soft head hammer placed nearby.
6. Galloping Horse
This installation was created by Sukant Panigrahy for KGAF 2012. It was a reproduction of the Kala Ghoda statue but with recyclable materials like rubber, metal scrap, etc. The piece raised awareness on nature as well as the reuse of materials. It was displayed at the entrance of the festival.
7. Tarewarchi Kasarat
This installation was created for KGAF 2013 by Sonal Jadhav and Nikhil Borhade. Tarewarchi Kasarat roughly translates to ‘balancing on a rope’ and this piece symbolized the various emotions humans are tied up within our lives. Human figures wound up with wires and threads of different colors were produced, each representing different dreams/ emotions.
8. Ashva | Kala Ghoda Festival
This installation was created for KGAF 2017 by Pooja Kotian and Swapnil Zagade. It was a suspended installation made by hanging charcoal pieces from the thread. It was made to look like a horse when viewed from the side. Visitors claimed that the slightest movement of the threads would move the entire piece, which created an illusion of the horse moving.
9. 8th Wonder of the World
This installation was created by Brinda Miller and Krsna Mehta for KGAF 2009. It was a 40 ft high pyramid that aimed to raise awareness about the water crisis. Each of the three sides was filled with water-related objects, i.e., buckets, plastic bottles, and taps. The interior was subtly lit on the inside so that the structure glowed at night.
10. Mother Do you think they’ll drop the bomb | Kala Ghoda Art Festival
This installation was made by Maadol Mukherjee for KGAF 2017. This was a 14 ft installation that aimed to highlight the degeneration of natural sources by humans. It was made entirely from scavenged wood and featured a throne for Mother Earth, who was sitting on it.