St+art India Foundation’s Mumbai Urban Art Festival lives on, as art is still accessible across Mumbai

As St+art India Foundation expands their artistic footprint across Mumbai, the magic of Mumbai Urban Art Festival (in association with Asian Paints Ltd) lives on, as all the art is still accessible to visitors. St+art India debuted a new mural at Dadar SRA by globally-renowned, Australian social realist painter, Fintan Magee – Adding this to their long list of artistic landmarks in Mumbai such as the Mahim (E) Art District, Worli’s Love Grove Flyover, Lower Parel Flyover, and more.

While the two-month-long Mumbai Urban Art Festival (MUAF) came to a close on February 22nd, the ethos of St+art India Foundation is for art to be accessible. Hence, the Sassoon Dock Art Project, which was the heart of the Mumbai Urban Art Festival 2022-2023, is still open for public visiting. The murals by international and Indian artists are as vibrant and alive as they were during the festival. The venue can be visited on all days of the week. Preferred visiting hours are 10 am to 8 pm.

New mural by Fintan Magee at SRA Dadar

The Dadar Flower Market offers a unique piece of the city’s history. Where generations of flower sellers have borne witness to the shaping of its urban landscape. What was once stables and cow sheds a few decades ago, has been replaced by skyscrapers and flyovers.

Fintan, an Australian social realist painter specializes in large-scale murals and draws inspiration from transition, loss, and the environment. At Dadar SRA, through a textured glass, akin to the window of a high-rise building, Magee presents an image of flowers slipping away from a figure’s hands, as if to remind us of the fragility of nature in a city that so rapidly develops and regenerates. This artwork was brought to live thanks to support from the SRA and the Australian High Commission.

Going beyond the Sassoon Docks Art Project, the city of Mumbai has always been a canvas of creativity for St+art India. Inspired by hyper-local stories, aesthetics, and portraying them on local landmarks itself, St+art India celebrates the spirit of Mumbai, its people, and their culture. Here’s a list of evergreen artistic landmarks in Mumbai by St+art India as they strive towards making art accessible. Be sure to spot them!

Mona Caron – Tapovan A-B Building, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel

Mona’s art has always spoken the language of botanical resilience. Take her famed mural series ‘Weeds” for instance, which consists of large-scale “heroic portraits” of wild plants that grow autonomously even in harsh conditions.

As Mumbai’s new skyscrapers rise in Lower Parel, these plants too shall continue to rise. Mona’s artworks often pay site-specific tribute to local human efforts, by evoking the specific medicinal, nutritive, or ritualistic powers of the chosen plants in connection to the artwork’s social setting. The new mural at Lower Parel takes inspiration from humble roadside weeds and wild plants like kurdu, takla, chhota kalpa, and kantakari that hold powerful gifts of nutrition and medicine for humans. This project was brought to life by support from MHADA & Prohelvetia.

Mahim Art District (E)

Ongoing since 2014, Mumbai’s Mahim (East) Art District is nested at the intersection of Mahim Station and Dharavi, globally known to be the world’s largest slum. This project already features 20 murals and installations by local and international artists. This year, we’ll be adding three more to the list in the form of edible gardens, multi-purpose seating, sport courts, and more.

Titled ‘Birds of India’, by Antwerp-based Street artist, Dzia, it takes after the diversity of bird species found in India like the Eurasian golden oriole, magpie-robin, and common tailorbird. The artist creates vibrant imagery through a mosaic of bright colors and outlined in bold geometric lines. Dzia has a penchant of reincorporating animals into urban environments, emphasising on the relationship between our natural and built realities, while also reflecting upon the importance of diversity in ecosystems.

We will also see a mural by Fabien François Thomas aka Mr. Poes. With hip-hop, comics and manga heroes being close to heart during his childhood, he developed a strong taste for Street Art. His relentless activity as a diehard graffiti artist had him travelling Europe, from Oslo to Istanbul and from Berlin to Belgrade. Poes seeks to develop a world where dreams are predominant, using derision, humour and irony to turn his paintings into poetic odes and fantastic stories, reflections of a dreamed society.

‘Dar-roj Mumbai’ by Aravani Art Project, Love Grove Flyover – Worli

Mumbai, as a city, runs on time and money. Bonded by culture, language, and hustle, we seldom find a way to portray all of these together. This brings us to Dar-roj Mumbai (Everyday in Mumbai) by the Aravani Art Project.

As the title suggests, the artwork consists of Mumbai’s everyday hustling citizens, expressing that this city functions as a conglomerate of human movements and that joy can be found even amidst the chaos. It’s intended for one to pause and reflect upon the volume of moment in this city and the beauty of it. This wall art will simply encompass the need for us to stay positive and to remind us that we must keep moving forward. Forward into the vastness of time, emotion, strength and positivity.

Lower Parel – Flyover at Senapati Bapat Marg project envisioned by StudioPOD

Undertaken by Hanif Kureshi in 2021, this project was designed by Akash Raj Halankar and Johnson, and painted by the Sadhale team. They strive to recreate the cultural history of this neighbourhood, paying tribute to the ever-changing landscape of the city of Mumbai. Monotone illustrations are juxtaposed against each other on the flyover creating a rich essence of the locality’s heritage and aesthetics through decades of time. We see iterations of the age-old cotton mills, corporate parks, Saracenic architecture, old bus tickets, heritage residential chawls, street vendors, festive rituals, dabbawalas, and scenes of the iconic Dadar Flower Market.

Team from St+art India says, “St+art India has been committed to making art accessible, and we’re excited that this mission is being realized across various commercial hubs and heritage neighbourhoods of Mumbai. Mumbai, as a city, is a conglomerate of cultures, people, and their stories, and each neighbourhood has undergone a massive transition in recent decades. Each existing and new mural celebrates this evolution.”

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