The Kala Ghoda festival has always been an ode to art and artists around the world, and its 21st edition is not an exception. It is all about culture, colors, and celebration of every other thing that art encompasses. The nine-day festival that began on 2nd February and went on till 10th February seeks to promote the various aspects on Indian art and culture.
Having heard of the Kala Ghoda festival and its stunning art legacy way before I started living in Mumbai, visiting and exploring art and culture through it has been one of the topmost things in my bucket-list, and to finally get that opportunity to experience it all was an amazing experience indeed.
According to me, Mumbai in itself, especially South Bombay sends out a very artsy an aesthetic vibe owing to its historical structures, architecture, support for contemporary art,etc. and Kala Ghoda as a cultural event celebrates this very spirit of the city. With its colorful vibrancy, artworks and art installations, Kala Ghoda is a feast to the eyes of an art lover. One thing that makes the festival so celebrated and prominent is that it doesn’t restrict itself to just artworks and paintings, and instead goes a long way to incorporate within it all forms of art, such as dance, music, drama, literature, cinema and so much more.
While stalls exhibiting art aesthetics and artsy merchandise lined up the sides, art installations inspired from different themes and concepts beautified the entire length of the area. One such installation that really appealed to me was ‘Laal’ by Hetal Shukla. One thing that was really special in this years Kala Ghoda festival was the beautiful smell of ‘kumkum’, and it was all because of Hetal Shukla’s beautiful installation.
‘Laal’ was basically an Ambassador car wrapped up in almost 50 kgs of ‘kumkum’. It is an ode to the humble moral system that one of India’s greatest Prime Miinister Lal Bahadur Shatri and his wife, Lalita Shastri strongly stood by. When Lal Bahadur Shastri passed away in 1966, it was a great loss for the nation but an even greater loss for his beloved wife who had to not only bear the loss of a life partner but also live off the mere monthly government pension now. She stood strong and paid back every penny of a car loan that was taken by Shastri before his death. She believed in the power of her ‘kumkum’ which is one of the most significant parts of the identity of a Hindu woman, and never let the colour of her commitment fade. She stood fearless and unbeaten against all odds and challenges, and truly embodied the crimson of her ‘kumkum’.
Thus, through this beautiful art installation, Hetal Shukla has tried to represent love, commitment, woman empowerment, belief in the institution of marriage, culture, and so much more. The installation’s social impact is as beautiful as its fragrance.
Hence, owing to these amazing works of art, Kala Ghoda was an amazing experience. However, the excessive crowd and lack of organisation made it difficult to explore and enjoy it to the fullest. Nevertheless, I look forward to visit it in its upcoming editions and experience the power of art and culture in their truest forms.