Iconic Sassoon Docks daubed with splashes of paint to celebrate 150th anniversary of Mumbai Port Authority

The Mumbai Urban Art Festival (MUAF) has painted the town in vibrant hues as St+art India Foundation installed an Art House at iconic Sassoon Docks, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Mumbai Port Authority.

The art project  at Sassoon docks focused on encouraging alarming  plastic pollution in the sea was started in 2017 to embrace the 142-year-old  heritage of the docks. This year St+art India foundation, in association with Asian Paints this year brough 30 artists from around the world who gave the dock—home of the Koli community an arresting makeover.

Built in 1875 by Sir Albert Abdulla David Sassoon, a Jewish merchant, It was Western India’s oldest and  first ‘wet’ dock–one where ships can sail in regardless of the tide. Walking into this area is like stepping in a huge fish wholesale market.

Standing on the entrance of historic Sassoon Dock houses the Art House has three remarkable installations: one by artist Steve Messam (from the UK) and two more by Ayaz Basrai (Busride studio) from Pune.

On the first floor, a conical installation is made with inflatable textiles, explains Steve, adding that he is demonstrating how air can be a medium of art by spreading the material sideways. Steve uses the same material used bouncy castles to create his fabric art sculpture.His installation portrays the co-existence of people. 

The second art work at The Art House by Ayaz portrays a ‘home.’ Made of fibrewood, the installation shows creative living in modular design. It is dedicated to Mumbai’s living space.

Inside Sassoon Docks, The black and white artwork titled Humanity, in the style of street art byMexican = artist Paola Delphin shows the faces of several fisherwomen in the dockyard which express a whirwhild of emotions. 

The walls of another building on the dock- the Barf Khana (ice factory) has an untitled artwork created by 10 artists. It features the fishes of all sizes, turtles, aquatic plants, debris from boats, and nets. painted in the hues of blue gradually morphing into a green, mirroring the ocean.

Opposite the baraf karkhana , there are streaks of vivid colors by Antonim Katre from Paris creating the impression of entering a maze, then drawing symmetrical panels over them in bold black paint.

Photos by: Prabalika M Borah

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