Spirit of Bombay, a show of large-scale sculptures by Valay Shende, set to go on show at Palladium
Spirit of Bombay carries artworks that draw upon the city’s indomitable spirit, inspired by commuters in the infamously busy Virar Fast local train and the iconic image of the dabbawala - the tiffin delivery men who have been an integral part of Mumbai’s landscape.
Made in Shende’s signature style of assembling stainless steel discs, the sculptures are intended to create a dialogue around ongoing social issues in Mumbai whilst bringing people together in a celebration of the cities history, culture and ethos.
Best known in Mumbai for his landmark dabbawala sculpture at Haji Ali, Shende’s work has continued to depict iconic images of Mumbai since he moved to the city to study at JJ School of Art in the early 2000s.
Having gone on to show work at museums and galleries around the world, as well as India, Spirit of Bombay provides an opportunity for all Mumbaikars to see the artist’s distinct and recognisable works together in Mumbai.
Continuing the theme of the city the exhibition will mark the launch of DabbaWala Superhero an English and Marathi comic created by cartoonist Abhijit Kini.
The comic has been designed as a celebration of the invaluable service of the dabbawala to the economy and ethos of the city.
With its playful graphics and narrative, the comic aims to introduce the story of the dabbawala to a new generation.
The initiative is supported by SodaBottleOpenerWala, who will be providing food and cocktails for the preview and all proceeds from the comic books will be donated to the Dabbawala Association.
In anticipation of the event, Director, Palladium Mumbai, Gayatri Ruia says, “We are delighted to have brought these sculptures together at Palladium alongside the launch of DabbaWala Superhero.
"We’ve taken on this ambitious exhibition because we believe in the power of public art in elevating the spirit of a city.
"Valay Shende’s sculptures embody the spirit of Mumbai through their breathtaking scale and compelling social commentary. We want to be able to bring the artist’s unique imagining of the city to the people of Mumbai.”
Valay Shende, born 1980, Nagpur, completed his BFA in Sculpture from Mumbai's Sir JJ School of Art in 2004.
He has since created a niche for himself with his instantly recognisable, large scale sculptures that have found a place of prominence in public art projects and private collection across the world.
Shende revisits popular symbols of urban India and represents them in new and surprising ways.
His sculptures have an uncanny ability to lend itself to a multitude of narratives surrounding capitalism, commenting with ease on Fordian ideas of time and labour, as well as capturing powerful market forces in refreshing and droll ways.
For example, in his piece Management Guru, Shende creates a life-size dabbawala out of ticking wrist watches; the figure stands beside his gold bicycle hung with golden stomachs instead of the usual tiffins, symbolising the multitude of consumers who are nourished by this invaluable service.
The artist’s exhibitions of note: Indian Highway at Serpentine Gallery, London and Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo at MAXXI Rome and MAC, Lyon; Concurrent India at Helsinki Art Museum, Finland and Finding India: Art for the New Century at Museum for Contemporary Art, Taipei.
Shende has also participated in the Glenfiddich Artist-in-Residence program, Glasgow; Open Air Residency Program, Paris and the Kuandu Biennale 2014 - Recognition System.
His solo exhibition Migrating Histories of Molecular Identities took place at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum in 2015. The artist lives and works in Mumbai.
Palladium, India’s leading lifestyle destination strategically located at High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel, Mumbai, presents an environment that spells refined elegance, while shoppers soak in the retail offerings, restaurants, cafes, spas and more.
Promoted by Atul Ruia, Managing Director, The Phoenix Mills Ltd, India’s premier retail led, mixed-used development company, Palladium has redefined the experience of shopping for high street and luxury labels as well as fine dining and entertainment.
Title: Spirit of Mumbai - an exhibition of sculptures by Valay Shende
Venue: Palladium, Lower Parel, Mumbai
Preview: Friday, 14 June 2019 | 7 pm - 9 pm
Exhibition dates: 15 June 2019 - 18 August 2019
Exclusive preview: Friday, 14 June 2019 | On public view from 15 June - 18 August 2019.