KGAF - 2014 : A Visual Delight

The Kala Ghoda Festival this year lasted nine days, and I was lucky to be able to visit on four of them. While all the events, workshops, talks, and walks are all wonderful experiences, it is the Visual Art Displays that draw me there, year after year. 




This year, the theme was 'Momentum', a concept I am more than familiar with, from my days  in Physics, but it was interesting to see the different interpretations people came up with, through their art forms. Let me take you through the visual art displays, through my photographs....

Before you go further, let me warn you that this is a long post, with lots of photographs, and thoughts. I can understand if you leave off halfway or simply scroll through the photos, but it will be incredibly encouraging if you read through till the end and leave your thoughts behind. After all, thats what we write blogs for, don't we? 

We entered Rampart Row from the Lion Gate side, and this was the first installation we saw.... The 'Garden of Momentum' by Fazlani L'Academie Globale attracted our attention by its sheer colourful nature. The concept of gaining momentum by completing our daily tasks, like a tree which braves all sorts of conditions every day to stand tall, seemed a bit far fetched, but nevertheless an interesting depiction of a concept. 


That set the tone for the entire visual art experience, each installation adding its own definition to the word 'Momentum'... like this one by CRY entitled - Spin the top.... The display is made up of thousands of small spinning tops....



And the idea is to spin as many as we can, to show our support for the work of CRY (Child Rights and You) against malnutrition in kids. As we spin more and more tops, the lights glow brighter, which only added to the lure of the installation! 


This one,called 'Unsafe Touches', by Arpan, an NGO working on the issue of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) shows just how fragile children are, bubble wrapped as they are. 


This one, artwork by school children, to be sold to raise funds... reminded Samhith of the time we displayed his art work as the backdrop of our Navaratri Golu! 


And this one, Imbalanced Justice, by Saviya Lopes and Shriya Nair, depicts just how unbalanced is the justice met out to victims, in spite of all the laws that are designed to protect their rights.The collection of stories from newspapers as part of the central arm, simply reminds us of all the cases where we lament the lack of implementation of laws in our country. 


On a lighter note, the next displays depict ideas for street furniture... which, may I add... would work so beautifully if they were actually used for the purpose intended! Clicking a photo of these without people was absolutely impossible, so here are some of them, showing people actually making the most of them!




The Bull is now a regular feature of Kala Ghoda....


As is the horse - an effort to replicate the name of the area. This year however, I thought the bull was so much better than the horse. What do you think? 


The Bottle Mountain has become a regular feature too...which is why I have only clicked a section of it... this portion, which reminded me of the wonderful time we spent with Urban Leaves a few years back...


Chumbak's Bobble Head, a depiction of the ubiquitous Indian head nod, was probably the most popular installation this year. This was a lucky click... clicked in the one moment there wasn't anyone posing with it! 


And this was one of my favourites - Everchanging Life..It depicts life as it changes as we grow, through our vocabulary... and together, they depict the growth of a plant... from a sapling to branches, leaves, and flowers. the pattern is only visible from a distance, and it is only as we go closer that we can decipher the words. 


This one - Ladka ya Ladki - Boy or girl... is another lovely installation which blended in with the place and the visitors... the glass shape of the woman is barely visible amidst the reflection of the background and the crowd.. what is actually visible is her womb! 


Kala Ghoda is incomplete without films, and here is one of the Filmy installations - depicting the change in films,, from mechanical to digital. Samhith was surprised that people at one time actually watched films like this - through a bioscope!


The entire Kala Ghoda area was, in itself, a display - of changing times. Catching this glimpse of Rampart Row, I couldn't help remembering the early years of the festival, when you could count on your fingers, the number of people at the venue - a time when the artists who made the display hung around to interact with the visitors, because there were so few of us! Seeing the crowds this year, even on weekdays, I shudder to think of next year! 


Coming back to the installations, here is one I absolutely loved.... Capturing Reflections...


We liked it so much that we came back again and again!


This parrot was the nicest thing about 'Kya Popat Banaya', a take on our political system..


And these postboxes simply reminded us that we have to start Postcrossing again.. soon!


This of course, was Samhith's favourite... and he clicked this pic...


And he enjoyed listening to the story of Horniman Circle at the Audio Compass stall...



Among the installations on the traffic island, this was a quote I completely agreed with...


and the Giant Popcorn (and the TV on it) attracted a lot of attention!


This tortoise so beautifully depicts the state of our city... Overburdened and crawling along at too slow a pace...


And Samhith enjoyed posing with the various depictions of the 'Kala Ghoda'..


This one, made with discarded cycle wheels and messages by kids, was a good effort...


Provoke / Protect by Dharavi Biennale, focuses on the issue foremost in everyone's mind....and yet, it was tucked away in a corner, where we almost missed seeing it! 


Me / We by Maitri Sahasrabuddhe was another one we missed on our first round, and saw only when we came back and the crowd around it had moved away...


But our favourite at Rampart Row was certainly this one - Mithya - Illusion by the NMIMS BSSA students. We clicked so many photos that I decided to make a collage of them for you! The beautiful way the corrugated sheets were put together to show images.. almost in motion was wonderful. However, we wished people would stop and take a better view.. from father away, as the installation is meant to be seen, rather than simply pose without stopping to think of what it depicts.


All those installations were just at Rampart Row. However, there were more in store, in the Museum Gardens. These were even more special, since they were all made by children!! Take a look and you will see why I came back at one impressed and saddened... Impressed because of the sheer creativity of the children, and saddened that Samhith's school doesn't participate in such initiatives! 

A Retrograde Future- by the Cathedral Vidya School, Lonavla

Organised Chaos by students of NSS Hill Spring International School

Momentum in Nature, by Mallika Viniet, Convent of Jesus and Mary, Fort Convent

Momentum - Painted Tyre Tubes inspired by Folk Art and Artists,
by students of Aditya Birla World Academy

Carefully Careless - by students of Ecole Mondiale World School, Juhu

Life - by Vihaan Kohli, under the guidance of  Arzan Khambata


Mumbai in Momentum - an autobiography
by students of Fazlani L'Academie Globale


Peace with Nature - Students of Utpal Sanghvi School

Ashes to Diamonds - by students of Singapore International School, Mumbai

The Power Tree - by students of Ascend International School

Untitled installation by the Sunflower Nursery School

Each of these were so beautiful and thought provoking, that I could go on and on about them. However, the post is already much longer, and delayed than I intended it to be. Therefore, I will leave you alone to think about what they convey. Besides, information about most of these installations is available on the net, so please feel free to search, and share your thoughts with me. As I leave you alone with your thoughts, there is one last image I would like to leave you with....



This is what brings me to Kala Ghoda year after year, in spite of the crowds, in spite of the  rush, and in spite of all the things that come in the way. It is this enthusiasm, this wonder, and desire to see more, which brings me back, in spite of all the complaints I have about the way the festival has grown out of control over the years. In the coming year, the festival faces a new challenge - to keep the festival going here, or to change the venue. 

There is a sense of irony about it. After all, the festival is named for a landmark which was moved from here years before the event was ever conceived. Would it, indeed be so wrong to move the event to a venue that could accommodate the huge crowds that now turn up here and throw the place into chaos for weeks? 

Much as I would love to say that the event will never be the same elsewhere, the dynamics of holding a festival this size, in such a small area, are not to be scoffed at. Over the years, we have seen organizers struggle to handle the crowds, and it was painfully evident this year too, especially at the registration desk, for the heritage walks, that they are way overburdened, and unable to manage the crowds. And, unfortunately, our behaviour as a crowd is not something to be proud of, either. Which is why, I look forward to seeing what happens next year, and if there will be any change, of any kind. Till then, I am going to be indulging in some nostalgia, and remembering all the good times I have had here, at the festival over the years! 

Comments

  1. Wonderful compilation. We missed the Museum exhibits though.
    Wholly agree with your conclusions.

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    1. Thank you, Deepak! we have been looking forward to the museum exhibits since last year.. but this is the first time i think that all the installations displayed there have been made by kids. it was such a wonderful experience! hope next year surpasses this one :)

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  2. I was so much waiting for this post...it was worth the wait. Thanks for the visual tour of Kalaghoda festival....Even kids read the full post and enjoyed..:)

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    1. So glad you all liked it, Sonal! i am sure you and the kids would really have enjoyed the displays. esp the ones in the museum. was so thinking of u there. hope next time at least we get to go together.

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  3. Beautiful compilation. I stay so close and didnt go here, but your blog has actually made this event alive. Great one!

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    1. Thank you, Naveen! these days, its so crowded, that going on weekends is practically impossible to see anything! as for me, i guess its become more of a habit or a compulsion so i still go there.. dont know for how long, though, if the crowds continue to increase :(

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  4. Beautiful and creative artworks. Would love to visit this next time.

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    1. Plan a trip next year and lets see if we can meet at least then!

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  5. Thanks for these beautiful images, Anu - although I was at Kala Ghoda on two days, I hardly got to see anything because of the crowds! On the flip side, was lovely meeting you at last :)

    ~ Charu

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    Replies
    1. Glad to have given you a glimpse, Charu! and it was so good to finally meet you! hope it happens soon again, and under less hectic circumstances!

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