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February 19, 2018

Celebrating 160 Years Of Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum

Text by Sadaf Shaikh. Videography by Prateek Patel. Photography by Gaurav Kumar

‘Asymmetrical Objects’, an exhibition by ten artists, explores the Age of the Anthropocene — a period during which human activity is a dominant influence on climate and the environment

A visit to Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum for a private viewing last month brought us face-to-face with artist Jitish Kallat’s gigantic skeletal vehicle — the Aquasaurus — modelled after water tankers that ferry potable water to water-short localities in urban India. This installation, and nine others like it, is part of the exhibition Asymmetrical Objects, a celebration of the museum’s completion of ten years since it reopened to the public in 2008, and 160 years since its initial inauguration by Lord Canning in 1857.

Curated by Tasneem Zakaria Mehta and co-curated by Himanshu Kadam, the exhibition features the works of ten artists whose art puts forth their rendition of alienation, pollution, destruction of biodiversity, unnatural divisions, mutations and distortions, the politics of water and waste and the destruction of landscapes and rivers — issues that have wreaked havoc on our planet in recent times. To that effect, you see Atul Bhalla’s Vaitarna, which explores the legend about the mythological river that we have to cross after death in our journey towards heaven, while Prajakta Potnis’ Capsule employs a sterile, temperature-controlled space which is reminiscent of the inside of a mall where you lose all sense of time and place. Also on display are Reena Kallat’s Hyphenated Lives and Sahej Rahal’s The Walker, the former presenting hybrids that are a result of the merger of species appropriated as national symbols of India and Pakistan, and the latter referencing a mutated being arriving from the future.

‘Asymmetrical Objects’ is on display until March 27, 2018 at Dr.Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla.

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