Project ZegnArt: Reena Kallat’s Art Revisits Mumbai
Reena Kallat's installation at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum
The Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, one of Mumbai’s most historically significant structures, has been a memoir of sorts of the city, dating back to the 19th century. The latest edition to its ever-evolving façade is a cobweb created by the coming together of rubber stamps. The installation, a part of Ermenegildo Zegna’s collaboration with the museum, is the work of artist Reena Saini Kallat.
“I was thinking of Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum’s history and its mutating relationship with the city of Mumbai. When talking about the transformation of the city, one of the things that came to my mind was the changing street names. I wanted to explore the way in which street names define a city, and speak to us about the people who occupy them,” Reena mused. Her work Untitled (Cobweb/Crossings) attempts to create a narrative of this history. Each of the rubber stamps, used as a symbol of bureaucratic apparatus, bears the colonial name of a city street. The cobweb bears testimony to stories that have gathered dust from the past.
Andrea Zegna, Tasneem Mehta, Gildo Zegna and Reena Kallat
The unveiling that took place earlier this month was graced by Gildo Zegna, CEO of the Ermenegildo group, Andrea Zegna, project coordinator, and director of the museum Tasneem Mehta. Involvement with art and design, Mr. Zegna insisted, is as much a part of the brand as is fashion. In fact, his grandfather was actively involved in the cause of public art in Italy ever since the group’s inception. Project ZegnArt is an extension of this philosophy as it aims to explore the medium of visual arts across the world. With India as the first destination of this burgeoning venture, Mumbai emerged as the chosen location.
Exploring the relationship between the society and public space has always been an integral part of this venture. “The aim of the public art project is to go beyond aesthetics and create a dialogue,” Andrea Zegna explained. “ZegnArt looks upon contemporary art as a way stimulate comparison between cultures, as a model of education and as a medium of exchange. It can be experienced as a space for debate, resistance and negotiation. Think of this project as a cultural cross-pollination between India and Italy.”
This private-public undertaking is certainly a high-point on the city’s art map. With public institutions opening their doors to the contemporary, we recommend you explore this artistic means of attaining zen.