Please do touch the art. Kala Ghoda fest wants you to

  • Riddhi Doshi, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 03, 2015 18:40 IST

This time around, no one will ask you not to touch the art installations at Rampart Road. In fact, at the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2015, you are being invited to get as close to the works as you want to and take as many selfies as you like — because the theme this year is Tactile or Sparsh.

“As the theme suggests, all 50 works are designed to touch you emotionally — and are interactive,” said Tarana Khubchandani, section curator.

For instance, a 15-ft by 10-ft installation titled Cycling Tree will invite visitors to step up and cycle on it. The mechanical energy generated will light up a ‘tree’ made up of 15 cycle wheels. “The idea is to promote cycling. We want to tell people that it is healthy and environment-friendly. The mechanical energy generated could be used to create something beautiful,” said Biraj Parikh, an architect and co-creator of the installation. “This is our first time at the festival and we are very excited.”

Another installation Amby-Sad-Err by Hetal Shukla will feature a colourful Ambassador as a tribute to the now-almost-obsolete car, which was once the pride of Indian streets.

In addition to the installations, photo exhibitions will showcase works by eight photographers at the David Sassoon Library, Artists’ Centre gallery and on Rampart Road. Architect and photographer Nakul Vengsarkar will show 10 images from his collection, Pause, all captured in Mumbai. “In a hectic, always-moving city, I have tried to capture the beauty of paused moments,” he said.

Other pictures will include Delhi-based photographer Siddhartha Das’ play of light and shadow on trees, landscapes and people in his black-and-white reel photographs. “This will be my first time at this festival that I have heard so much about from friends and relatives,” said Das.

Those associated with the festival for years are equally excited. Visual arts volunteer Shovan Shah, 22, an architecture student at LS Raheja, is volunteering for the fifth time. “I love the enthusiasm of the KGAF team and the thousands of visitors,” he said. “It’s this incredible excitement to experience art in an otherwise culturally deprived city that draws me to the festival year after year.”

This very coming together of performance and visual arts is what attracts visitor Jay Shah, 30, a share broker, too. “I drive down from Vikhroli with my wife every year and spend an entire day here looking at the art, catching theatre performances, eating and shopping,” said Jay. “It’s during this festival that you see the city at its vibrant best. How can I miss that?”

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