Turn clay into trees, urban angst into art at this exhibition | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Turn clay into trees, urban angst into art at this exhibition

Madhvi Subrahmanian is inviting the public to participate in one of the exhibits in her ongoing show.

mumbai Updated: Sep 09, 2017 11:52 IST
Dipanjan Sinha
The Forest is an installation that represents urban homes as ‘trees’, these trees created by inhabitants of the city, representing the longing for a world less concrete.
The Forest is an installation that represents urban homes as ‘trees’, these trees created by inhabitants of the city, representing the longing for a world less concrete. (Satyabrata Tripathy / HT Photo)
Mapping Memory
  • When: Until September 29
  • Where: Chemould Prescott Road, Fort
  • Contact : Shaleen Wadhwana on shaleenwadhwana@gallerychemould.com or 22000211 / 2 Ext. 106
  • Entry is free

This weekend, you have a chance to have works of your own making in a bona fide gallery. Multimedia artist Madhvi Subrahmanian has opened up one of the exhibits in her show, Mapping Memory, to audience collaboration.

“In our busy urban lives we get little time to be close to the earth,” says Subrahmanian. “In this exhibition, we provide a clay mound to people who come to watch the show. They are guided to turn the clay into a tree. These small trees are then added to the exhibit, Forest, which shows houses in a city in the shape of trees.”

The show comprises different installations that dwell on urban life and a longing for a world less concrete.

The exhibit Mappa Mundi borrows from the Japanese technique of repairing broken pottery with powdered gold. She depicts of Mumbai and Singapore, both places she has lived in, through informal maps on shards of pottery.

“All the fuzzy memories of my travels in cities have reflected in my works,” she says. “But the world outside the limits of the city influences me too. The sound of a night where crickets creek or the simple shadow of trees.”

In another work, Upla, porcelain cow dung cakes are fixed in rows on a wall, just as they would in rural India. They even bear the hand impressions of the workers who made them. “The white porcelain is a play on the current politics around the animal,” she says.

Marketing executive Hiral Sampat turns a clay mound into a tree, to be added to the installation. (Satyabrata Tripathy / HT Photo)

Visitors have been getting their hands dirty, fashioning the clay trees for Forest. “I wanted to try out how it works when I saw the post about it on social media,” says Chandresh Jain, who works for a travel company. “This kind of work makes me feel that the creative things we made as children could be of some value if we kept at it,” he says.

For marketing executive Hiral Bhuvanesh Sampat, who also volunteered to contribute, it was a first-time experience. “Audiences at exhibitions can sometimes be insincere, but when you are taking part you are naturally more drawn into the work,” she says.

The gallery has slots open for more volunteers, so here’s your chance to turn clay into a tree, add to an artwork and rethink the idea of mud, clay and earth.