Art possibly was the last thing on Albert Abdullah David Sassoon’s mind when he built India’s first commercial wet dock in Mumbai in 1875 to peddle his opium and cotton to the world. Yet, here we are, over a century later, his nefarious creation metamorphosed into a vibrant, imaginative space for street art.
5 years ago, St+Art India breathed new life into this woefully neglected corner of Mumbai with the Sassoon Dock Art Project. They brought together a diverse group of over 30 artists from around the world to create a singularly stunning display of street art.
From Tan Zi Xi of Singapore to Guido Van Helten of Australia, each artist brought their own unique style to the project, injecting the docks with colour and creativity. The result was a breathtaking showcase of talent, a testament to the power of art to transform forgotten spaces into vibrant, living canvases. My favourite from this edition were the 374 black-and-white portrait-style photographs on the façades of the eight warehouses that line the dock – a nod to the Kolis, the Banjaras and the Hindu Maratha communities who inhabit and run Sassoon Dock.
You can see all the installations here.
The project was revived a few months ago and is open to the public as part of the bigger Mumbai Urban Art Festival that brought together over 60 prominent artists, architects, and art organisations from across the world, with installations, digital shows, paintings, murals, photographs, and three-dimensional works across the city.
Take a look. Remind yourself that joy can be found in the unlikeliest of places.
P.S. It’s you that keeps us moving forward. So if you miss us send us a note. We could do with some joy.