The large-scale painting ‘Mumbai Proverbs’ marks a culmination of Sudhir Patwardhan’s forty-year engagement with Mumbai. Patwardhan’s relationship with Mumbai has changed through these four decades, as the metropolis itself has undergone drastic transformation. In the past, writes the artist, “I have mainly employed three strategies to paint the city: the street-level view of a participant; the panoramic view of a observer; and, lately, the guarded view of a city fragment, viewed while looking out of a window. When I began sketching and thinking about the current project, I realised I wanted to bring into play all these earlier strategies. Given the scale, the panorama would predominate, but it would be inter-spread with breaks and close-ups. Interiors of homes, factories, offices would merge with the streets and aerial views. Inside and outside, near and far, private and public, would be brought together. Mumbai is transforming daily, giving us glimpses of the future; and Mumbai has a past that, too, is everywhere.” Patwardhan chose a seven-panel structure, reminiscent of a Japanese screen: “Binodbehari Mukherjee’s Hindi Bhavan mural at Santiniketan was a point of reference, as were Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Mural and Leger’s ‘City’.” Read from left to right, the panels narrate the city from its colonial beginnings to the Information Technology age. The other narrative linking the fragments is the flaneur’s roaming, which discovers what makes this one city, indeed, one’s city. Patwardhan will be in conversation with poet and cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote, who has written extensively on his work.
The program is organised by the Mohile Parikh Center in collaboration with the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai