With its signature installations the Kala Ghoda Festival is a burst of fresh thinking, expression and creativity. One of the first installations to eye ball everyone was of the Dabbawala, who seemed to announce that ‘every man must carry his own burden.’ The sheer size of the figurine made the load appear too much to bear!
In an age where Iron Man and Batman have become cult icons, Kala Ghoda offered the “Wired Man”. Titled Taryavarchi Kasrat, a Marathi phrase meaning balancing on a tightrope, this threaded and wired superhero denoted the busy souls of Mumbaikars. The installation urged that if fear, anorexia and loneliness are the outcome of our daily lives, it’s probably wise to look for another way of living.
The Kala Ghoda festival was also high on recyclability. A cabin made out of Bisleri bottles was at hand with a comfortable sofa for three to sit on. Other installations included street furniture made of cane, and a horse that was the brainchild of the owner of a packaging company, made out of cardboard.
Three themes that made a comeback were Rickshawala, Dream Wagon and Make Me Rich. Rickshawala and Dream Wagon were modified versions of the Rickshaw, which more or less never fail to be seen at city festivals. Where as, Make Me Rich indicated artist Hetal Shukla’s persisting obsession with the big daddy of Indian cars, the Ambassador.
The artistic portrayal of the birth of the Vespa drew parallels between the world’s first scooter and the wasp which inspired its name and design (for those who came in late Vespa means Wasp in Italian).
The connotations of engineering apart, to the onlookers this scooter resembled a kinda cute and funny insect. Surprisingly its highlight was the colour and not its technicality, which was one of the key essentials of the brands rise to power.
Bang opposite Vespa was the non-polluting mode of transport highlighted through ‘Cycle Chalao City Bajao’. This golden bicycle urged citizens to pedal their way to save the environment.
There was also an installation titled ‘Earth Recycled’ which had an array of cycles in front of a globe dotted with bulbs. The idea was to sit and pedal the static cycles, generate electricity and light up the nation. The message was to regenerate not only the nation, but the world which is losing sync with its environment.
Of all the installations, the most formidable was that of Kapala Totems by Sukant Panigrahy. The installation pointed out the dangers of digital waste and was made using discarded mouse pieces and other computer paraphernalia.
The installations turned into a visual allegory of thoughts evoking and provoking the sane mind. And it is perhaps after you have rummaged through the festival and are on your way back home when the moon smiles at you from a distance and the dark horse asks, “Hey, did you know that hope precedes science and commerce, and hope is an art?”
Text By: Vikas Bhadra
Photos By Snigdha Hodarkar