A walk down the bylanes of south Mumbai, was for the novice and long time art-lovers was thought to be boring like any chef with little interest would have thought it to be.

An invite takes me to the art trail, wondering what it would add to my repertoire, as a food curator. Lots of surprises in store, lots of boredom too till the connect starts happening.

Exhibition of Kalighat painting in Victoria memorial hall, KolkataMexican art at Lakeeren

An artist’s vision of his piece stands as a piece of subjectivity, right through the entire walk. What they do, what they think, why they use a medium, what their flow of thoughts are, are few tricky questions that I ask myself. But then I’m sure these questions even run on a diners mind too. Is creativity an answer to this or is it a mere thought. I guess , it’s a combination, for me atleast. Art for me is anything vibrant and cheerful. Being a chef, I see art on my plate, I see it the way I mould chocolates, the way I capture a frame through my lens.

The Art Walk is more inspirational for me than understanding the nuances of any art medium. Yes, mediums are definitely good to know but strictly for the art lover to understand. What I take back from the whole association with the effervescent Elise Foster Vander Elst is Food Styling, which is more my cup of coffee. Gazing at forms of art, I could see textures, colours, mediums, sauce scribbles, powder coats, shimmer, dusts and the works. I’m sure paintings and installations are well thought of in terms of their combinations and medium used.

Food is a very simple form of cooking science. As long as the basic components of a meal are taken care of, the final plating is the chef’s take on appeal. Simple. Art forms on the contrary, form some instant connect with me. Some make me wonder what the artist was thinking while making it.

Sakshi gallery hosting Anirban Mitra’s worksCommon man in a gallery at Gallery Maskara
The first visit to Gallery 7 showcased 7 artists using 7 mediums. What stood out for me was Nirit Zer’s ‘Never ending self portrait’. What I personally liked about this medium is the artist’s sheer desire to connect with life through his photographs, video art, digital works, paintings, 3D images, media, illustrations and texts, just the way each one of us does all day long through foodstagramming , instant messages and other various social networking mediums. Krishna Murari’s leather fur on fiber glass and surgical instruments. Understood absolutely nothing, but looked brilliant as a wall centre piece. Sameer Tawde’s complex narrative that captures daily life within urban culture. His photograph of pooris, zoomed me straight to Juhu beach enjoying the snack as a child. How many times do we capture such simplicity through our lens, is what I walk out thinking?

Leather fur on FIibre glass and surgical instruments at Gallery 7Sakshi gallery hosting Anirban Mitra’s works
Art musings was next on list with artist Gopi Krishna’s characters conveying wisdom of their own. ‘Marriage of fishes’ was one such painting that instantly caught my fancy. Not for the thought he put into it but for a sheer fact that the name reminded me of a very common kitchen terminology that I often used in the hot kitchens.

‘Marriage of ingredients’, which means combining two such ingredients which taste well together when plated or eaten together.

Gallery Maskara was next in line. What would I expect at this gallery? My expectations were high from the strawberry plant painted at the entrance. Something to do with food for sure ,in here. But what caught my lens at this gallery was a sketch with a lot of complexities. It was about postures. I smile to myself, as the chef in me was not ready to believe that it was actually nothing more than ‘kitchen time-motion’ study. A study which all hospitality professionals across kitchens practice for lifting something fallen or placed on the floor, the technique of bending and rising back. Simple ways of keeping us work healthy despite the long draining hours.
Sakshi Gallery hosted Anirban Mitra’s large painting of ‘Exhibition of Kalighat painting in Victoria memorial hall, Kolkata’ in which he raises a question about a relationship between a colonizer and the colonized in the post colonial context and explores the construction of realilty through oil paint.

Too much for me to understand. But yes, it did rewind me to my first job, in my whites, in Kolkata at one of the five star hotels. Nostalgic for the sheer joy of enjoying my tryst with jhalmudi and puchkas in the Victoria memorial gardens.

Lakeeren – The contemporary art gallery hosted 6 artists displaying transcendental evocations by exploring a metaphysical connection between Mexico and India. Resonance: Sound trace by Lorena Mal, depicted by 5 drawings of bells from history records of different centuries. Takes me back to my convent school education, where my lunch breaks were spent in the church premises. The resonating gong of that bell is still so clear in my mind. Is someone talking food here, again ?

Construction being monitored was the theme in a nutshell
All through the walk ,as if food and food trail along the art walk wasn’t enogh , we finally visit 1/29 studio / Gallerie The painting ‘Dog eats Dog’ catches my fancy , not for the play of permutations of the primary shades but for its sheer name. Possibility plays on my mind and I wonder how a dog eats another dog ? Divert my mind from the thought to something else, but it continues even through the intimate improvisation by Mynah Marie and Jake Charkey.

The chef and food writer in me, was lost amongst the art curators and art bloggers, but was happy to be part of the whole gamut for its sheer connect with my schooling, my first work place, workstyle and food platings.

What I take back from the galleries and what I thought about the art pieces that stood out, in my perspective, is etched.
Now when you notice some artistic strokes and textures on my food plates and some nostalgic conversations over a cup of Masala chai and broon maska, you know ‘The Art Walk’ is to be blamed for.

Article originally posted in GingerChai.com