Interviews by Mallika Chandra. Images by Naomi Shah.

Vitamin Sea

Do you suppose that the competition offers guests with a chance to interact meaningfully with the Koli fishing group and the problems that they face at massive?
The competition at Sassoon Docks acts as a site-specific inventive intervention. I create socially engaged artwork and it’s the way you mould individuals’s minds that’s necessary. Town doesn’t know a lot concerning the Kolis, I don’t suppose city dwellers are involved about our ongoing points; they’re busy incomes their livelihoods and pursuing their ambitions. This competition is an try and redirect consideration in direction of the problems plaguing the group.

What was your relationship with Sassoon Docks like in your growing-up years? And did showcasing your work right here carry again any reminiscences?
My mom was within the retail fish enterprise for over 40 years and I used to accompany her to Sassoon Docks to purchase fish. I’ve reminiscences of strolling across the space along with her and imbibing life classes of no-escaping-hard-work. Vitamin Sea is about meals and sustenance. The Kolis worship marine life. The whale shark, for instance, is regionally often called Bairi Dev, and it survives on turtles — who we discuss with as Kasav Dev — and planktons.

Was the fabric chosen from a conceptual in addition to a stylistic standpoint?
Resin is now a part of our materials tradition. Earlier, our boats and huge vessels have been made out of jackfruit wooden, however now most of our fishing vessels are fabricated from FRP (fibre-reinforced polymer) resin which, I feel, is an apparent materials to make use of. I like the fabric’s rooted stillness. My indigenous id is all the time mirrored in my artwork observe. The resin I exploit is a clear medium — it goes properly with my aesthetics and method of seeing.

Are you able to stroll us via your artistic course of?
I begin by drawing. My sketchbooks usually are not the small A4-sized ones however a lot bigger (7 ft by 5 ft) and mounted on an easel. I maintain drawing in them. The train includes constant engagement. Later, this drawing is remodeled right into a three-dimensional large-scale clay work, for which I exploit Shadu clay as it’s native to Mumbai. I take pleasure in doing every thing myself, I wish to work with my arms for that’s what makes us people. It’s a protracted process-based work during which the entire physique is engaged.

The Magic Dice

Your work is motivated by how dwelling in compact areas would possibly appear like sooner or later….
From our very first conversations with Hanif [Kureshi; co-founder and artistic director of St+art India Foundation] and his crew, we began creating the thought of a micro-home fit-out, extra as an concept immediate for guests. The huge potential of a competition like that is that it turns into a market for concepts. We reply, critique, parody and fall in love with our metropolis yet again. Our set up was shrunk all the way down to mirror the flats that we spend our lives in — the concrete bins which are supplied to us by builders to conduct our life, work and play in.

We do an excellent disservice to our houses once we take them without any consideration, permitting them to turn out to be static backdrops to our lives. Our houses have the potential to make us extra conscious of our environment, create energetic and vibrant lives and make us extra engaged and curious concerning the world we dwell in. However provided that we enable them to, and if we design them to allow this. Our work at Sassoon Docks was located in a very beautiful previous bungalow, completely sq. in plan. We thought it’d be enjoyable to insert a immediate round future dwelling, a hyperfunctional dice that collapses the performance of a whole dwelling into itself. The concept was to introduce a prototype future dwelling which, ideally, guests may ponder over, critique, talk about and possibly construct — their very own variations, at their very own houses.

Your work raises questions on the way forward for compact dwelling areas. Are you any nearer to answering these?
The Magic Dice set up is definitely a part of an extended iterative set of experiments that we’ve been engaged in since 2006. My first dwelling in Ranwar village in Bandra was additionally an train in hyperfunctionality. I lived for 2 years in a 160-square-foot “condominium”, with sliding partitions and furnishings that allowed me to have a walk-in wardrobe, a walk-in library, a full-size desk and likewise a king-size mattress, simply by shifting just a few partitions on channels. The act of dwelling on this kind of context, the place I needed to actively create the areas I wanted on an hourly foundation, created a kind of choreography with furnishings, and a really energetic relationship with the house. We then labored on one other mission titled Folly Home that engaged in these inquiries via a 4,000-square-foot area that launched concepts of craft and hypermobility into the combo. Zameer (my brother and co-founder of The Busride Design Studio) constructed hyperfunctional items into his personal condominium in Bandra.

Watching guests stroll across the dice after which discovering totally different entry factors into the area, discovering cat doorways and secret cubbyholes, was actually enjoyable. And thru social media we’re capable of relive a bit of every customer’s expertise. I hope that there’s some resonance, and possibly a handful of them went again with concepts they’d wish to discover in their very own houses. I do consider that hyperfunctionality and intense design detailing workout routines will create the kind of houses we’d wish to dwell in, in future cities. Compaction tradition impacts all of us, regardless of our demographic. Even the well-heeled in Mumbai dwell their lives out of concrete bins, stacked one above the opposite in an more and more concretised metropolis, and prompts like these could create small cocoons of hyper-utility in areas that desperately want hard-working options. Our houses have to be at the very least as hard-working as us, if no more. This isn’t only a Mumbai factor, it’s true throughout varied megalopolises; compaction tradition is taking part in out in more and more attention-grabbing methods. Compaction tradition is endemic, and town is its manifestation.

Had been the supplies chosen from a conceptual in addition to a stylistic standpoint?
By means of a considered alternative of fabric, we hoped to create The Magic Dice as a diegetic prototype. A diegetic prototype is a device utilized in speculative fiction, an space of design we’re very actively exploring at present. A diegetic prototype is a piece in progress and its solely function is to impress dialogue. The concept is to not create a completed product that may be offered or marketed, however quite a rough-around-the edges scaffolding that customers can flesh out with their very own conceptions of what a house would appear like for them individually. We selected to keep away from a completed concept, in addition to extreme propping. We created nearly all the construction with a single materials, oriented strand board (OSB), for its tough uncovered visible texture. That is offset by a bunch of merchandise, materials, wallpapers and fittings from Asian Paints, our occasion sponsor, to finish the trimmings of a future dwelling. In happening this street, we have been capable of construct a sure open-endedness to the exploration and keep away from subjective and aesthetically derived responses that have a tendency to remove from the inquiry.

Are you able to stroll us via the method of making the set up?
Our first step in creating the set up was a website go to with the St+artwork crew, and a kind of free-ranging curatorial chat with Hanif, who’s an previous buddy and long-time collaborator. We have been very involved in exploring the thought of a future-home set inside an old-home context, to spark the creativeness of what life in a metropolis might be like. The Asian Paints Artwork Home additionally served as one of many occasion venues for the competition, so we had to bear in mind the essential actions of crowds. A gathering area was created on the bottom flooring for occasions, lectures, discussions, product launches and the NFT (non-fungible token) gallery. And Asian Paints additionally used it to announce the launch of their color of the yr. As we developed the design, we created a bunch of OSB samples exploring remedies and materials juxtapositions, to higher visualise closing outcomes. Saee [Pagar] from our studio spearheaded all the construct and labored intently with Suresh [Vishwakarma] and his crew of carpenters to design and execute all the area. There was a enjoyable interplay with the Asian Paints crew as properly, to combine a few of their dwelling merchandise into the area, to offer much-needed context and color to the set up. Being a time-bound, deadline-based construct, it was just about continuous work with each day supervision to make sure all of it got here collectively on time. The spotlight for me was how the completed object blurred the boundary between being a room and an object. It kind of behaved like an object within the Artwork Home context, however a room if you really engaged with it.

Toy Faces

How do you suppose the idea of nostalgia responded to Sassoon Docks, the positioning of the set up?
Toy Faces is a group of portraits which are pushed by nostalgia and childlike surprise. Toys are objects paying homage to a unprecedented time when the phrase “cynical” wasn’t a part of our vocabulary. The gathering celebrates people and characters via historical past and fictional tales, to remind us of our first sources of inspiration and revisit the sentiments that include experiencing complicated worlds for the primary time.

Over the past two years, I’ve created a number of Toy Faces, taking part in with signature bear ears, button eyes and Pinocchio noses with a number of characters and avatars on an open canvas.

On this exhibit, I’ve prolonged the Toy Faces NFT to 5 artists — Atia Sen, Neethi, Osheen Siva, Santanu Hazarika and Zero — taking inspiration from Silver Escapade, the Asian Paints Color of The 12 months 2023. The result’s a playful collaboration celebrating the spirit of our youth whereas incorporating varied kinds and mediums.

That is the primary time that NFTs have been part of the Mumbai City Artwork Competition. How do you suppose the general public has responded and engaged with them?
Digital artwork is among the most generally used artwork mediums. NFTs and blockchain have disrupted this medium and allowed it to turn out to be tradable. I’ve acquired an unimaginable public response with quite a few shares and messages in my social media inbox. By being a part of this competition, Toy Faces has proven us the potential of this medium.

What was it like collaborating with the opposite artists for Toy Faces? Do you see extra artists collaborating within the Web3 area sooner or later?
I agreed to take part within the competition primarily due to its collaborative nature. At first, I used to be anxious about extending my assortment to artists from totally different mediums however it quickly grew to become obvious that this may be one among my greatest collaborations.

Web3 is an extremely collaborative area; it’s frequent to work with fellow artists in Web3 and even acquire artwork from them. Due to much less institutional involvement in Web3, artists rely upon one another extra right here than in conventional areas. Plus, sensible contracts and blockchain make all the collaboration very clear.

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