28th July 2019
Mumbai; a city in which there is such a big premium on 'space'. The city also happens to be bursting at its seams with quality artists trying to find a space to express themselves. It’s certainly not a marriage made in heaven if you buy into the ‘starving artist’ trope.
There’s an interesting new trend that seems to be taking hold in the city though that may begin to alleviate the problem. Existing residential and office spaces are being repurposed to cater to all forms of art.
‘Ikattha’, in Colaba, is one such space that opened its doors in January of this year. This little gem of a space is hidden on the fourth floor of Daulatram Mansion near the Colaba Post Office. The owner, Illesha Khandelwal, was inspired to spruce up this old family property by the artist residencies she’s been a part of all over the world. Ikattha is a collaborative studio for artists which she hopes will be “a space of artistic experimentation, where the wildest dreams stretch their wings”. It is a space for artists, by artists, and as such, they strive to make the process democratic – their decision-making and subsequent direction stems from the collective ideas of all involved.
The collective is open to, and the space has already been host to performance art too. The no-frills storytelling group ‘Found on all Fours’ (FOAF) for instance, performed a piece at the space in conjunction with the art on display. In front of each artists’ work displayed on the walls, FOAF would weave stories and narrate them through song.
Barely four months into their endeavour, Ikattha, with its programming is already making bold moves that could play a part in the way Mumbai consumes art.
People are definitely taking notice of this ‘repurposing spaces’ trend. If you caught our ‘Up Next – 22nd April to 28th April’ post, you would’ve noticed that A Peasant of El Salvador - a QTP show that has been staged at venues like Prithvi Theatre, was playing at ‘Of10’, a co-working space in Powai, that week. You would’ve also seen that ‘The Looney, The Lover, and The Poet’, a restaurant in Khar was staging a ‘supper theatre piece’.
While in these cases, the spaces have not been entirely repurposed – they follow a similar principle. People are noticing the demand from artists and obliging with spaces of all shapes and sizes. It’s a beautiful win-win.
A night out to the theatre no longer means you’re going to one of the established theatre spaces – NCPA, Royal Opera House, Cuckoo Club, and the like. You could be headed to an office!
As Ikattha slowly finds its place in the arts scene of Mumbai, you’ll likely find more productions you can catch there.
Watch this space!
By Vishisht Virmani
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