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City heritage on canvas

art-and-culture Updated: Sep 19, 2010 16:44 IST
Jayeeta Mazumder
Jayeeta Mazumder
Hindustan Times
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What images come to your mind when you think of Mumbai? The Gateway of India, the Taj Mahal Hotel, local trains, dabbawallas? These are the characteristic elements you’d relate to the city and when looked through the eyes of a tourist, they are also what define Mumbai.

Postcards from Mumbai, an exhibition of paintings by artist Alexis Halliwell, will show these very aspects of the city from an outsider’s perspective. Halliwell graduated in Fine Art Painting and History of Art at Oxford Brookes University. She then worked in London, Vienna, The Hague and Moscow, before settling down in Delhi three years ago.

When she first came to Mumbai in February this year, she was fascinated by the city’s vibe. It was then that she decided to experiment with her artwork. Most of her versions of the city on canvas are blended with acrylic and lace work.

Halliwell says, “I specialised in textile design, so I wanted to merge different elements. I collect a lot of embellishments like mirrors, lace from Indian saris. I thought of using them in my paintings because Indian architectural structures really work well when embellished with appliqués and lace.”

Dabbawallas in Mumbai, to her, are symbolic of the essence of the city. “As a visitor, the idea of snapshots works because it gives an objective view. The dabbawallas represent the city’s everyday life. It’s symbolic of warmth, kindness, and efficiency at the same time.” She adds that she looks at things in terms of light and dark. “And the pristine white colour of the uniforms is really interesting,” says Halliwell.

The artist is currently making miniature images of Delhi for the British High Commissioner at the upcoming Commonwealth Games