Duration: 48 hours
Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai
Costumes: Loise Braganza
Photography: Shivani Gupta
Production Assistance: Starlyn D’ Souza and Aarti Sunder
Yog Raj Chitrakar, walked from the Northern end of the island city of Mumbai to its southern tip and back; a journey 30 km and 48 hours long. The performance began in an open ground at 5 pm in Bandra, a trendy young suburb of Mumbai that prior to large gentrification projects since the 1970s and 80s, was a cluster of sleepy fishing villages. The performance began with Yog Raj dressed only in his underwear shaving his head and beard. He went on to wear a crisp blue shirt and khakis – a costume to loosely suggest a turn of the century colonial adventurer.
Yog Raj set-out with a backpack full with two days worth of food and water, bedding, charcoal and a large piece of canvas, to make panoramic drawings of the city from two vantage points. The first was of the view from Hanging Gardens overlooking Chowpatty Beach and Marine Drive, a location that is popular with tourists and local resident joggers. The seconddrawing was of the Oval Maidan in Colaba, one of the few open public spaces in Mumbai. Now functioning as a cricket ground and a dog park, the Maidan also served as a place for public protests and demonstrations during the Freedom Struggle in the 1930s and 40s. This park is crowned majestically by Colonial architecture from the 19th and early 20th century. Yog Raj spent his nights in the waiting rooms of Mumbai Central Train Station and Victoria Terminus Train Station. Mumbai is the city where I reside and my need to alter my experience of it was pressing. I commute between Bandra, my studio and Colaba, the downtown commercial and cultural center, but always in the comfort of my car. On this commute, which took the form of a walk, the city seemed to have slowed down. I felt that I was able to experience viscerally every sight, scent and sound of this densely populated, culturally and economically diverse city.