In 2012, I was an Artist-in-Residence at SPACE 118, Wadibunder, Mumbai, India; for a duration of 6 months from April – September.
SPACE 118 is a five-studio space residency and shares its compound wall with one of the older warehouses still functioning in the city. It is located in the heart of The Warehouse district (Wadibunder) and The Docks area (Mazgaon) of South Mumbai, a place seething with history, constant transformation and vibrancy.
Among its programs for the artist are curatorial and research assistance on a project basis, an advisory panel of distinguished artists specializing in various fields of art practice; as well as various talks, workshops and events organised by artists, writers, intellectuals and researchers in the field of art.
The location of the space ended up playing an important role. My grandparents have lived in Mazgaon my entire life. As a child, I used to visit their home during my summer vacations and be taken to the Mazgaon Gardens, a famous landmark of the Area. The garden, located on a hilltop, offers a stunning view of the docks and the ships. This vivid memory has always remained with me and was keen to revisit the space now as an artist. The space was the same, I felt transported. What I felt strange was also the fact that such an integral and what used to be a central part of the city seemed almost abandoned, its history neglected. I felt that I needed to begin to piece it together, to archive it and maybe revive it.
SITE : STAGE : STRUCTURE
has been an ongoing archival project based within and around the geographical location of Space 118, using photography as its primary medium of documentation. The series of photographs is a cross section of a layered and multi-tiered space, which comprises an eclectic mix of temporary setups, chawls, shanties and tenements amidst more permanent historic landmarks and its inhabitants.
The project aims to work in multiple directions by documenting the life and living conditions of specific loosely strung together tribes of people, and the nature of the seemingly random growth of civilization across a loosely specified area of space.
Sites revisited on a daily basis over a period of two months have resulted in these spaces becoming stages set for the performances of the everyday.
The Residency culminated with an open house, where the project was presented as a series of 17 books and Large Format photo prints.