"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." - Pablo Picasso
South Mumbai has a thriving art scene. With art galleries and museums located at every other street, the city holds immense opportunities for art connoisseurs - those who create it as well as those who appreciate it. Evidently, the city has opened its arms to contemporary art, much like it has for everything that is new - culture, cuisine and art forms - from other parts of India and the world. The art scene in the city encourages experiments with canvas bases and mediums like street art, videos and installations.
Let's take a look at the top 5 contemporary art galleries in South Mumbai that should make it to your list of art trails in the Maximum City.
1. Jehangir Art Gallery - Kala Ghoda, Colaba
The celebrated Jehangir Art Gallery was established in 1952 under the ownership of Sir Cowasji Jehangir and the patronage of K. K. Hebbar and Homi Bhabha. It has three halls dedicated to contemporary art – Auditorium Hall, Exhibition Gallery and Hirji Jehangir Gallery. The fourth hall, Terrace Art Gallery for Photography and Visual Art, is especially for photography.
Painters of global repute like M.F. Hussain, K.K. Hebbar, Akbar Padamsee, S.H. Raza, Anjolie Ela Menon, among several others, have showcased their art in this gallery that boasts of having hosted more than 300 exhibitions. The architecture of the building in which Jehangir Art Gallery is situated is in itself deeply rooted in history and talks volumes about the bespoke craftsmanship of the bygone era.
2. Chemould Prescott Road Gallery - Fort
Chemould is another gallery that commands a cult status among contemporary art galleries in the city, along with Jehangir Art Gallery. It was once the hotbed for stimulating conversations among modernist artists like M. F. Hussain and his contemporaries. This gave birth to a new genre of contemporary art, whose exponents are now called Progressives.
Presently, the gallery hosts stalwarts like Nalini Malani, Shilpa Gupta and Atul Dodiya, as well as young promising artists like Shezad Dawood and Dhruvi Acharya. The gallery has now relocated to a new address where the distinctly different loft-like architecture is a unique piece of art in itself. It is undoubtedly a conversation-starter for those who appreciate art.
3. Galerie Mirchandani & Steinruecke Art Gallery - Colaba
Galerie Mirchandani & Steinruecke was founded in 2006 and is owned by the mother-daughter duo, Usha Mirchandani and Ranjana Steinruecke. It is distinguished for introducing eminent international artists like Jonathan Meese, Wolfgang Laib, Leiko Ikemura and Kiki Smith to India. It also fosters new contemporary Indian artists like Mansi Bhatt and Tejal Shah. The decor is reminiscent of Manhattan-styled galleries with its spaciousness, pristine walls and large windows that welcome ample natural light.
Thai Pavilion – President, Cuffe Parade
Celebrated for its Pan-Asian, specifically Thai delicacies, pamper your soul with the exotic marriage of flavours typical to the cuisine – spices, basil and lemongrass. Savour the mild aroma of Thai Green Curry, Pad Thai and conclude with Thai desserts like Tub Tim Grob and Semmifraddo. Enjoy the flavoursome delights while enjoying the breathtaking view of the Mumbai skyline.
The Champagne Lounge - The Oberoi, Nariman Point
The plush interiors of Champagne Lounge overlook the wide expanse of the ocean. Soak in the opulence while treating yourself to an exotic glass of champagne. If you are not a wine connoisseur, there are alternative options to pamper you. Appreciate the rich aroma of single origin coffee or the mild fragrance of loose leaf tea, coupled with mouthwatering sides like sandwiches, scones, jam and cream. Make sure that you book a table by their signature red piano in the lobby to enjoy their live music performance. Take a backseat from the hustle of the Maximum City and absorb the solitude.
4. Volte - Worli
Owned by Tushar Jiwarajka, Volte is one of the newest additions to the local art scene, much to the city's fervour for contemporary art. However, Volte has created a niche for itself within a few years of being founded in 2009 with its exhibitions of quirky and vibrant artworks - art that are in oneness with the exuberant madness of the city. The multimedia installations further add to the uniqueness of Volte. Mr. Jiwarajka's endless passion for art, specifically vibrant artworks and lesser known artists, is evident from his keen eye for noticing amateur Tibetan artists and creating an opportunity for their art to see the light of day.
What sets this gallery apart from the rest of its kind in South Mumbai is that it does not only specialise in celebrating contemporary art, it exhibits video stills and films as well. The South African classic, 'Refusal of Time' by the ace filmmaker and artist, William Kentridge, and the much appreciated video works of the renowned Ranbir Kaleka are prized possessions of this gallery.
5. Artéquest Art Gallery - Malabar Hill
Founded as recently as 2010 by Mrs. Sarala and registered in 2018, Artéquest Art Gallery (AAG) is rapidly emerging as a haven for contemporary art in the city. recognised for its consistent efforts in discovering local talents from leading art schools, and offering upcoming Indian artists the exposure to the global platform.
Besides, Artéquest also holds the beacon for showcasing renowned flagbearers of contemporary Indian art - Jatin Das, Jogen Chowdhury, Laxma Goud, Thota Vaikuntam, Rini Dhumal, S.H. Raza, K. G. Subramanyan, Anjoli Ela Menon, Suhas Roy, Suryaprakash, among others - names that need no introduction. Right from acrylic and mixed media on canvas to paintings on handmade paper, Indian indigenous art forms like Madhubani - Artéquest showcases it all. Despite being a fairly recent addition to South Mumbai's vibrant arts scene, the gallery holds its own among the iconic art destinations.