What do a naval dockyard worker, an accountant and a tourist from America have in common?
On Saturday, they were all trilling over the street art at the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
“This work is amazing,” said Manisha Bhandarkar, 42, a homemaker from Andheri, gazing at an installation titled My Chai Tamaasha, made entirely of tea bags. “I have never seen an art work that looked so fragile. It makes me think of how we Mumbaiites bond over tea at street stalls or at a new neighbour’s home.”
That, incidentally, is what artist Ritu Dua was going for when she created it.
“This is so much fun,” she said, looking out over the crowds. “This is my first time here and it’s fantastic to have people from all walks of life walk interacting with the works.”
In all, 54 art installations had crowds admiring, wondering and occasionally confused as children, grandparents, parents and teens ambled along Rampart Row.
Among the crowd-pullers was a group of four installations made from naval dockyard scrap, signifying the hard work, strength and determination of the dockyard workers.
“I would never have thought that something so beautiful could be made out of waste,” said Usha Joshi, 52, an accountant from Vile Parle. “I am here with my husband and daughter. We plan to head to the potters’ market next, to make something out of clay, and then attend a few dance performances at Cross Maidan.”
Further down the road, a rotating blue globe by artist Vishal Daware drew stares. Titled Preserve or Perish, it featured images of heavy machinery, failed crops and farmer suicides.
“It’s hard-hitting. Makes you think about the impact we are having on the planet,” said Christine Cottrell, 32, an American in Mumbai for a friend’s wedding.
The final seal of approval came from artist Bose Krishnamachari, founder of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. “I’m glad I came today so I could enjoy the festival before it gets more crowded,” he said, smiling.