Pali Village Cafe’s vintage details are bound to transport you from one of Bandra’s busiest (and ironically un-policed) intersections to a quaint hideaway. When owner Mishali Sanghani approached me about making a few changes, I was immediately keen on the project. Yet any overt change seemed forced. The space had a character of its own; one I didn’t want to disrupt.
We bounced ideas over a glass of peru pyala, occasionally looking at the monochrome movies projected on the glass wall, I couldn’t help but ask myself, ‘why not art?’
The idea of art at Pali Village Cafe seemed adept. There is a charming effortlessness about the space that always makes me feel at home and like any home I’m in — be it that of a friend, my own and my sites — I feel an insatiable desire to fill it with art. Shilpa Gupta, wisely pointed out during our first round table, that if you can’t take the public to the art, take the art to the public.
“If a gallery is next to the cinema, people are bound to step in,” she insisted. We decided to put her theory to test! The idea was to make this more than just another restaurant that hangs paintings with little price tags, the art needed to lend itself to the aesthetic and enhance it, more than anything the work needed to bring a new dimension to the space. What we were looking to achieve was an intervention, not an exhibition. I’m not a curator, as an architect I work purely on a visual sensibility.
Project 88’s strong, young and dynamic programme made for an excellent choice of artists. With Sree, we made a selection of artworks that combined attention to concept and space. Twenty two works from Project 88 have found a new home in Bandra for this years end. I will admit that I enjoyed the poetics of bringing the city’s s southern most gallery all the way across the sea link.
We hope this collaboration helps bridge the gap between the north and south, the visual and conceptual and most of all between art and its audience.
Here’s a little glimpse of what we’ve been working on. Although I’m tempted to take you through every detail and every piece of work, I would much rather you have a look for yourself. Some works are obvious, others are subtle, waiting to be encountered.
If you’re wondering why we didn’t bother having the fallen lamppost outside fixed, it’s because it’s first on the list of artistic interventions at Pali Village Cafe. The artist, Huma Mulji, often addresses notions of neglect and the dysfunctional. Her lamppost has ceased to fall and is in a state of arrest on a street that is never still. It’s flickering light catches the gaze of passers by and calls attention to the isolation and flux of urban existence.
Hemali Bhuta’s Grey Scale, a 10 feet high translucent soap column is placed in the corner by the stairs. Bhuta’s multidisciplinary practice is concerned with the notion of ‘transitory’ space and the elements that contain or create these spaces. Grey Scale is an attempt to transform a space by drawing attention to its often forgotten corners and architectural details.
Pali Village Cafe will also have artworks as table mats on some tables. Raqs Media Collective’s With Respect to Residue is a project designed to provoke reflection about remnants and waste.
The artists address states of being and histories that end up abandoned as waste, as the detritus of the routine processes that constitute and maintain the world. So at the end of your meal, feel free to take your residue stained mat back home!
Starting sundown, Monali Meher’s polychromatic video is projected on the peripheral glass wall.
In Playing Bazaar, the artist attempts to constantly balance a series of simple objects we encounter in our everyday lives. Meher creates a dialogue of self-reflecting, change and repetition.
In many ways the work is a portrait of each of us. We are constantly dealing with weighing, measuring and balancing in our lives.