Seven exhibitions you can't afford to miss in Mumbai

The exhibitions in Mumbai you can't afford to miss | Soho House

Image courtesy of Galerie Isa

From newly opened creative spaces to immersive galleries, the city’s art scene has never been more exciting

Monday 25 April 2022 By Eve Lemesle

Covid-19 might have rocked the world, but it didn't harm India’s art scene. Instead, it’s thriving.  Over the last two years, it has witnessed a meteoric rise of NFTs, and auction houses and galleries have made a transition to the digital space. With the temporary closure of galleries and cancellation of art fairs and exhibitions, artists retreated to their studios — many experimented with medium and process in the interim — and some emerged with wider portfolios. 
Among other positives, the pandemic seems to have exhibitions that include more works by women and those that tell inclusive stories. Exciting new art venues have opened and the big city galleries and museums are welcoming art lovers again. The return of India Art Fair (April 28 - May 1) is an indicator of this great resurgence, as are the scores of incredible shows to attend. Guests and culture vultures who have settled in at Soho House Mumbai can continue to get their art fix before or after the art fair. Here are seven of the best art shows currently on view. 

The exhibitions in Mumbai you can't afford to miss | Soho House

Image courtesy of 47-A

1. Open at 47-A
On until 9 May 2022  

For art-world kudos, the gallery to namedrop this summer is 47-A, which is tucked away in the quaint lanes of Kotachiwadi, Girgaum. It’s all the rage right now, which is down to its sensitive yet inclusive programming of both contemporary design and architectural history. It’s current exhibition, Open, aptly pays homage to the culturally rich neighbourhood it’s housed in through film and archival photographs. Study the architectural model of Kotachiwadi to really get under the skin of this charming town with a history that goes back 150 years. 

The exhibitions in Mumbai you can't afford to miss | Soho House

Image courtesy of Chemould/SHIFT

2. Eccentric Structures / Intimate Worlds at Chemould/SHIFT
On until 23 April 2022

Clamber up the stairs of a grand century-old building in the heart of Colaba and into Chemould/SHIFT. It’s a new entrant to the art scene, and an extension programme of the prestigious Chemould Prescott Road gallery, which supports emerging artists and is committed to creating a more accessible art community. Here, surrealism meets biophilic forms in the intricately detailed sculptural works of artist Vinita Mungi. Multi-textured sea sponges, tubular mushrooms and oblong shells fashioned from clay, then glazed and coated with candy-toned slips, incite a double take on the broader issues surrounding markers of sexuality and ideas related to vulnerability.

The exhibitions in Mumbai you can't afford to miss | Soho House

Image courtesy of Sakshi Gallery

3. Thousands Of Me at Sakshi Gallery
On until 31 May 2022

The old and the new collide at this charming gallery in the heart of Mumbai’s art district. You won’t want to miss its current exhibition by artist Manjunath Kamath, whose work is informed by Indian myth and iconography. The multi-disciplinary creative uses his preferred medium of terracotta to navigate the divisive tension between the traditional and the contemporary, the local and the universal, the sacred and the secular. You are invited to make what you will of his fantastical pieces that unshackle motifs and imagery from their historical connotations. 

The exhibitions in Mumbai you can't afford to miss | Soho House

Image courtesy of Chemould Prescott Road

4. Epilogue For Light at Chemould Prescott Road
On until 13 May 2022 

Head to Chemould Prescott Road in the leafy lanes of the dockside Ballard Estate, where you can take a trip back in time through the lens of its Edwardian architecture and other remnants of Mumbai’s colonial history. Inside this gallery, objects and insects representing the quotidian take on an otherworldly feel in the large-scale works of Tanujaa Rane. The artist is known for her large-format printing-making work, more so for the fact that each piece is spread over several frames to overcome the restriction of size that her print-making machine allows. The scale of imagery and its paradoxical lightness, coupled with the familiarity of everyday motifs and their metaphorical representations, make this show one to visit. 

The exhibitions in Mumbai you can't afford to miss | Soho House

Image courtesy of Galerie Isa

5. Super Nature at Galerie Isa
On until 4 June 2022

While in the historic district of Ballard Estate (above), spend time at Galerie Isa. Here, you’ll realise that ‘super woman’ and ‘super nova’ are but two instances of the magical nature of words that allude to the title of the ongoing show. Super Nature brings together the works of three immensely talented artists of our time: Daniel Crews-Chubb, Conrad Shawcross, and Michaela Yearwood-Dan. Listen to Cerrone’s eponymous disco as you immerse yourself in these works that carry a similar prophetic theme of a future ruined by the use of artificial chemicals in agriculture. The exhibition has been curated by Jane Neal, who intends to inspire and infuse a new way of thinking, which it quite effortlessly does. 

The exhibitions in Mumbai you can't afford to miss | Soho House

Image courtesy of Jhaveri Contemporary

6. Shifting Waters at Jhaveri Contemporary
On until 21 May 2022

Jhaveri Contemporary, located behind the iconic Taj Mahal Palace hotel and Gateway of India, is characteristic of Colaba’s expansive sunlit galleries, which are known for their big arched windows and high ceilings. In this two-person show, a new suite of paintings and works on paper by London-based artist Jake Grewal are juxtaposed with photographs by the late Ceylonese polymath, Lionel Wendt. Both artists use the male figure as a template for exploration and interrogation of one’s identity and aesthetic inheritance. Most might not know that Wendt, born in 1900, was a professional concert pianist, filmmaker and critic who had an exceptional taste in the arts and was passionate about the works of Man Ray and Proust. He would go on to produce the bulk of his photographs in the last decade of his life, during which he was widely exhibited.

The exhibitions in Mumbai you can't afford to miss | Soho House

Image courtesy of Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation

7. Ancestors at Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, CSMVS Museum
On until 8 May 2022

There are plenty of reasons to visit the sprawling 100-year-old CSMVS Museum right now. Not only is the grand heritage structure a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture; it’s also home to numerous collections that include objects from ancient Indian civilisations right up to European paintings and modern Indian art. Couple your visit with Sahej Rahal’s long-running show in the modern art wing of this sprawling museum. Inspired by the rise and fall of imagined civilisations, the show is set within a staged tomb site in which viewers are privy to drawings, paintings, sculptures, writings, and performances. From folklore and mythologies to sci-fi, video games and urban legends, the references in his objects carry animalist yet futuristic undertones. 

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