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Visit a 200-year-old home in Mumbai as part of an exhibition on archiving

The exhibition, Archival Dialogues, presents works by current and former students of the Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) of Baroda

mumbai Updated: Nov 10, 2017 01:07 IST
Prakruti Maniar
Prakruti Maniar
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,archiving,Maharaja Sayajirao University
A visitor at the exhibition in Mumbai. (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

A heritage bungalow in Khotachiwadi is hosting an art exhibition on archiving, and the venue is as engaging as the exhibits.

Fashion designer James Ferreira’s family home is a 200-year-old piece of history — thick wooden beams and a sloping roof, each room full of curios, gleaming wooden chests and old black-and-white photographs showing people smiling primly, frozen in another time.

The exhibition, Archival Dialogues, presents works by current and former students of the Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) of Baroda. These too hark back to an earlier time.

Artist Dinar Sultana, for instance, has used only natural colours that she made herself; Avni Bansal’s are woodcut prints and sandstone sculptures.

Priyanka D’Souza has juxtaposed paintings of the tiles that characterise heritage homes, with their geometric prints of yellow, maroon and black, with paintings of moths, representative of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, which she reads as “a provisional freedom within the larger structure of authority”.

“Members of my community, including my grandfather, gave land to the British to build this city. And today, not a single museum records our contribution,” Ferreira says.

This missing link in history made his home an ideal venue for a show that aims to question how history is recorded.

The idea, in fact, was to initially stage the exhibition at a museum, “to challenge the role that a museum plays in the documentation of history,” says gallerist Priyasri Patodia, who regularly organises exhibitions to showcase works by young or student artists.

For this exhibition, she roped in Pronoy Chakraborty, a post-graduate student of art history at MSU, as curator.

Pronoy picked six artists from a list of 15 whose works Patodia had seen at a campus exhibition last year, based on the fact that all their works were influenced by different areas of research and united by the theme of archiving.

For Ferreira, the exhibition fits in perfectly with his desire to highlight his community’s history and culture through greater participation with the evolving urban environment of today.

He has hosted three previous exhibitions at his home — the Rescued Film Project hosted earlier this year, which was an online archive of images captured on film between the 1930s and late 1990s; and two exhibitions of Christian art by Paul Bhonsle, in 2009 and 2013.

“James’s house is like a past frozen in time,” Patodia says. “We gave it the status of a museum, which also helps bring an alternative history to light.”

The exhibition will be hosted at Ferreira House, Charni Road, till November 11, after which it will move to Patodia’s Priyasri gallery in Worli, in January. Entry to both venues is free.

First Published: Nov 05, 2017 01:17 IST