If you live in the South Mumbai area in the city, chances are that you’ve spotted some unique installations at well-known spots like the Jindal Mansion, Worli Sea Face and Haji Ali. Unveiled on Women’s Day, at the Jindal Mansion, the first quilt, out of a series, brings together people’s experiences during the lockdown, narrated by art. Made of repurposed material ranging from repurposed fabric and gunny bags to table-cloths, the quilt brings together 1300 art pieces, with submissions from Namrata Shirodkar, Shweta Nanda Bachchan, Monisha Jaisingh among others.
We caught up with Neha Modi and Dia Mehhta Bhupal, the brains behind Corona Quilt Project, to know more about the art installations in the city, and the story behind the unique project. Excerpts:
Neha Modi and Dia Mehhta Bhupal
ELLE: Tell us about Corona Quilt Project. How did it start, and did you expect it to grow so big, in a year?
Neha Modi: The Corona Quilt Project was brought to India and executed by and Dia Mehhta Bhupal and me during the initial weeks of the pandemic as a way to connect people, discuss self-expression and mental health, and bring communities together. We started with a target of collecting 200 squares and ended up collecting over 12,000! But the most pleasant surprise has been how willing and enthusiastic people were to participate and how grateful they were to be able to tell their individual stories.
ELLE: The project is based on the theme, ‘Rise’. Tell us about your own interception of the theme?
Dia Mehhta Bhupal: A transformative, uplifting journey symbolically coming together in natural elements such as the sun, the ocean, butterflies, along with portraits of the frontline workforce who have led the fight against the pandemic. The intention is to present the full range of depth, diversity and ingenuity of the squares collected while spreading a larger message of hope, empowerment and resilience.
ELLE: Apart from the quilt at Jindal Mansion, you have several other installations lined up. Tell us a bit about that.
NM & DMB: For the Jindal Mansion presentation, Dia created a modern quilt titled A Rising Sun. It is always darkest before dawn, but every day, a new sunrise gives us the opportunity to hope, dream, and imagine a better tomorrow. A Rising Sun wraps around the facade of the building with 1339 individual stories. It draws a parallel from the landscape of Mumbai with the sun rising along the coastline.
Honouring the frontline workers, Warriors Rise, a montage of portraits presented at the Haji Ali Pumping Station, is focused on a pumping heart, a symbol of all that the frontline workers have done to keep us safe and healthy. It features individual portraits of doctors, nurses, the police force, and the Bombay Municipality Community (BMC), who have been our core strength and support during the pandemic.
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On the Rise, the presentation on Worli Seaface, wraps around the facade of the building with over 5000 individual narratives coming together. It draws a parallel from the butterfly- a symbol of transformation, evolution and resurrection. This has been a time of monumental and purposeful metamorphosis, that has given birth to new perspectives and visions.
ELLE: How do you plan to grow this project this year?
NM & DMB: This is ultimately a national (even international) project, that is inclusive. It’s just the beginning; let’s see where the journey takes us! We have one more city coming up, which we will announce soon.