Located in the heart of colonial Mumbai, the Kala Ghoda area gets its name from an equestrian statue of King Edward VII. Its association with art began with institutions like the Prince of Wales Museum, David Sassoon library and the Bombay Natural History Society, which were established around the area. As the intelligentsia of those days started to frequent them, art also followed them there. Soon, a slew of art galleries started appearing, and from then on it was not infrequent to see street artists and art students showcasing their work.
Post-independence, the art bend of the area increased with the global recognition that Jehangir Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Modern Art brought with them. Aspiring artists began to put up their work on the area’s streets in hopes of getting a passing collector’s notice, while a slew of private galleries began exhibiting some of the best art that was to be found in India.
The Kala Ghoda Association itself was formed in 1998 to start preserving the area’s heritage, and the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival followed the next year. Today, the area has over 110,000 sq. ft. of gallery space and the annual festival celebrating its heritage is a much loved affair, where people from all over India come in to experience art in their own way. Let us look at some pictures from this year’s festival, to delve deeper into what this art district means to Mumbai and its citizens.
The stallion had a robot, warrior and penguin for company, all made out of industrial waste by those we consider non-artistic.
Because fabrics can be used to create a new meaning out of anything.
A young festival visitor looking at one artist’s tribute to another.
Ruchi Seth brought back A.P.J. Abdul Kalam while putting forth a message of recycling and reuse.
Lights were cocooned in fabrics to tingle the visitors’ imagination.
Even empty plates at the festival stimulated the brain.
Possibly nothing tells us more about modern society than a young girl taking a selfie under the tree of labels.
A visitor adds another layer to the 3-D illusion created by the artist.
A multitude of faces rose above the sea of faces below to create a surreal experience.
The great Indian tradition of conversation over tea was also brought alive.
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is not just for aficionados and artists. It is a place where culture, people, creativity and intellectual thought all mingle together, creating the perfect mix. This is what makes this festival such a unique and unmissable experience on the Mumbai calendar, as well as a must visit for those in the city when it’s happening.