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Where Art Thou If Not At Kala Ghoda?

-Kudrat Anand

Early February is probably the greatest time to be in Mumbai, thanks to the events ranging from the blues festival to the kala ghoda festival. Art, music and/or culture – ask and you shall receive!

Kala ghoda is a 7-10 day treat of installations, art work, craft exhibitions, literature, workshops of all sorts, dance, theater and music performances. If that isn’t reason enough to go attend the festival, this year they have a massage counter as well. So it’s a 100% stress buster scene which we all could do with

The festival is centered around a theme each year and this year commemorates 20 years of its inception. The festival begun as an initiative To preserve the heritage and art district of South Mumbai, people travel from various places and make the time from their busy schedules to simply attend the event but guess what? This year I had the honour of working on an installation that was showcased at the very entrance of the festival. Yes, I’m casually showing off.

What we tried (and hopefully succeed at) was creating a stranbeast inspired by some of Theo Jansen, a Danish inventor of sorts, work. The concept of the installation was a marriage between humans, machine and art. The installation ran on a motor which made the horses move and gave the illusion that the running horses also painted the canvas that lay beneath it. If you really start to think about it you realize that man has been becoming heavily dependent on machines. It started with the smaller things such as replacing horses with motors and quickly moved on to much bigger things like the industrial revolution where we replaced man with machines altogether. The horse heads that have been hand painted by the students of the fashion department depicted art forms that have been dying out due to this industrialization. Think about it, do we really need machines for so much? Do we really need an Alexa to switch on our fans for us?

What the festival stands for is preservation of the dying culture and arts of this now extremely hip area of South Mumbai. For once, the streets are flooded with people who want to visually stimulate themselves by all the surrounding art rather than buy the trendiest of bags available at the Hermes store nearby. Each year themes nod at issues such a climate change, dwindling of our natural resources and yet revel in the beauty of nature simultaneously.

So what really was our contribution to kala ghoda? Other than that 10ft tall structure that weighs around 100kg and looks super cool and also moves because of a motor that takes up about 240volts of electricity? I like to believe it’s the question we all dread to acknowledge. How much do we really need machines around us? Will we reach a point where they consume us altogether? And if that’s not something you want to be dealing with, there’s always the free massage counter to relax you and lots of beautiful art to surround yourself with.


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