New in Mumbai: Three Galleries You Must Visit

  • 27 Apr '22
  • 3:11 pm by Manisha AR

In the last few years, the contemporary art scene in India has thrived. While we know this moment has been in the making for a long time, some would argue the pandemic was a catalyst that has sped up many cross-border and cross-industry collaborations. At the same time, many artists have put down roots and nurtured relationships within their community to bring forth the most astonishing and insightful artworks. This gallery season, we have seen multiple group shows with a blend of unfamiliar and familiar names. We have also seen many experimental projects come to fruition. This phase of experimentation and openness to unusual ideas has pushed many institutions to dream bigger, push the boundaries of traditional art and even bring a new audience.

Here are three new art ventures in Mumbai that will open new doors for artists –

The Cathedral on opening night at IF.BE, Images courtesy IF.BE

IF.BE revamps an old Ice Factory Ballard Estate in Fort, Mumbai for art, design and architecture events
IF.BE is many things. It is a collaboration between designers and architects. It’s also a space designed to inspire, facilitate, celebrate, and connect individuals, projects, and ideas. Located on Calicut Road inside the now-defunct Ambico Ice Factory, this 10,000-sq feet building has been revived to support a hub for conversations and connections. Known as an experimental lab, it opened its doors on April 17, 2022, to the public. IF.BE includes an exhibition and performance space, a library, and essentials like a cafe, a restaurant, and a bar. “The acronym IF.BE was coined to pay homage to the location’s rich heritage,” according to founder and principal architect of Malik Architecture, Kamal Malik. Short for Ice Factory, Ballard Estate, “it also alludes to the endless possibilities and a sense of wonder ‘IF’ and a counterweight that provides balance and resolutions ‘BE’,” he adds.

A fairly well-lit and ventilated space, this massive structure has been re-designed by Malik Architecture to include five different sections. Patrons can learn about the history and making of this hub in their current exhibit titled ‘Refraction: The (Re)Making of the Ice Factory,’ at the Ice Factory. Known as the performance space, it’s an open room that soars to about 22 feet and stands without any columns. The exhibition space known as The Cathedral overlooks the banyan tree and central courtyard. The Substation or a reading room will include a display of materials on art, architecture, and design that visitors can browse. ‘The Banyan Tree Cafe,’ situated under an ancient banyan tree, and the Native Bombay, a restaurant and bar, will serve food, drinks, and respite.

Since their opening, they’ve hosted a performance by Elise Ruth Robstad, a film screening of Amit Dutta’s works, a sound performance by Isaac Sullivan, and a conversation between Sunhil Sippy and Saif Ali Khan.

 

47-A is located in the ancestral home of the Crasto Family in Khotachiwadi, Images courtesy 47-A.

Chatterjee and Lal Collaborate with Baro Market to open their Newest Gallery, 47- A in Girgaum, Mumbai
Situated in the heart of Khotachiwadi, a heritage village filled with homes that date back to the late 18th century, 47-A is a gallery dedicated to global design practices and histories. A collaboration between Srila Chatterjee of the online store Baro Market and contemporary art gallery Chatterjee and Lal, this new gallery brings together “heritage, professional design, and an equally passionate partner,” according to Srila Chatterjee. For Tara Lal and Mortimer Chatterjee, this is a natural development and a positive turn of events to engage with a rich history of urban and architectural design through this new project. The gallery aims to showcase a wide variety of design practices in India– both contemporary and historical.

47-A is located in the ancestral home of the Crasto Family in Khotachiwadi, Images courtesy 47-A.

Built inside a Portuguese Colonial-style 19th century house, 47-A is one of the first art ventures to make its way to this side of Mumbai. Perhaps this will signal a new direction and bring in new audiences and visitors who can contribute to the revitalization of this neighbourhood. Their debut show is an homage to the neighbourhood and the larger Girgaum area. There are two films on view – a survey of Girgaums’s music halls and an oral history of Kotachiwadi’s residents. The show also includes archival photographs from one of the families interviewed and architectural models of the village.

Environment (2019-2022) by Vinita Mungi at Chemould/SHIFT, Images courtesy gallery and artist.

Chemould Prescott Road Announces an Expansion of its Gallery Space to Include Chemould/SHIFT
Spearheaded by Sunaina Rajan and Atyaan Jungalwala, a new venture by Chemould Prescott Gallery called Chemould/SHIFT is set to offer a platform to young artists at the start of their careers. Unlike the main gallery known to showcase works by prominent artists, this new venture is a shift. Their debut show at ‘Sugra Manzil‘ in Colaba features works by sculptor and ceramicist Vinita Mungi titled ‘Eccentric Structures/Intimate Worlds.’ Using organic forms, the artist has created entire biospheres which include an array of textures, colours, and topographies. According to Mungi, “they are miniature, individualistic environments that entail untold stories of non-existent worlds…draw the viewer in to discover new bits and sections hidden within one another.” These environments are a playful balance between the joy of miniatures and layered interpretations of bodily imagery and vulnerability.

While a charming historic building like Sugra Manzil with stained glass windows and patterned tile floors is the perfect space to showcase these eccentric histories and multiverses, for Chemould/SHIFT, it isn’t about the physical space. Instead, the duo is looking to carry the idea of mentorships and the opportunity to collaborate on their travels as they encounter new artists. While they are looking to break out of the traditional white cube space, they are also looking to draw in a fresh and more engaged audience to gravitate toward contemporary art.

Urchin (2019-2022) by Vinita Mungi at Chemould/SHIFT, Images courtesy gallery and artist.