Art strikes Bandra and this is only the beginning

Bandra also known as the ‘Queen of the suburbs’ is growing rapidly. It is known for it’s churches like Mount Mary’s Basilica. It is well-connected by the Western Line of the Mumbai Railways and now by the Bandra Worli Sea Link as well. Areas such as Pali Hill and Bandstand were known for where Bollywood celebrities live.

Bandra West which was once dubbed the Beverly Hills of Bombay is rapidly developing into a hip neighbourhood with some of the best restaurants, cafes and high street stores. With the art scene already crowded in South Bombay young artists and designers are now consciously trying to transform the area into a contemporary art hub.

ArtLoft is a 700 square foot contemporary space that has been deigned by art therapist Leila Tayebaly and is built to unleash ones creativity. The idea is to make art accessible to anyone willing to experience through creative workshops, exhibitions, featured events and conferences.

In an effort to nurture this idea ArtLoft recently organized The Art Conspiracy where artists were invited to submit art in various formats and a jury selected the winning entries that were displayed all over the neighbourhood in participating restaurants, cafes and stores.

Unfortunately I did not get to experience the art festival in it’s entirety but I did get a taste of the festival and the burgeoning neighbourhood. Yellow Tree Cafe, with a quaint little bar and cafe on the ground level sits on top of a slope at the junction of 33rd Rd and Ambedkar Rd. The lounge that is located on the second level exhibited a sensory photo exhibit by a group of three to four artists. Images of clouds under different conditions, snowfall, feet in water and images of furniture and people covered in crumpled paper were all accompanied by music which certainly enhanced the experience. The clouds definitely made an impact but the images of people covered with paper definitely had an element of surprise and were amusing.

Jas Charnajiva and Transformart's installation 'Fire Wall' at Yellow Tree Cafe in Bandra

Jas Charanjiva an urban artist who lives in New York encourages street art painted live at the event accompanied by Transformart. The wall mural titled Fire Wall was painted in a raw space on the third floor of the Yellow Tree Cafe. The painting depicted a the scene of people entrapped and burning but hoping to escape through an exit.

(L) Inside Azaad Bazaar, (R) Wall Art

Then the next stop was Azaad Bazaar located in the same building as Bank of Maharashtra two blocks from Yellow Tree Cafe. Azaad Bazaar, India’s first LGBT pride store sells tee shirts and other accessories that are quirky and or make a statement. The store aimed at creating wall art by providing visitors with paints and canvases – that made up pieces of the puzzle that would come together as one and celebrate diversity. The atmosphere there was very friendly and many people came by painted and or just chose to hang around and spend time with friends.

I wish I had more time to explore the neighbourhood and the other exhibits but I had to head out.Is Bandra transforming into Bombay’s Williamsburg? Not sure if it is transforming into Williamsburg or DUMBO but the vibes were definitely infectious.

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