E-201 - Multipolis Mumbai: The Sea and the city

E-201 - Multipolis Mumbai: The Sea and the city
E-201 - Multipolis Mumbai: The Sea and the city


Thursday, February 21 2019

06.00 PM to 08.00 PM


The National Gallery of Modern Art,

Sir Cowasji Jahangir Public Hall,

M. G. Road, Fort, Mumbai, 400032




Sifra Lentin, Meera Devidayal,

Paul Fernandes, Commodore Odakkal Johnson 

Pradip Patade, Kurush Dalal.




Our city’s very identity and its cosmopolitan fabric have been shaped by its relationship with the Sea. NGMA Mumbai and Ministry of Culture, Government of India and Avid Learning present a panel discussion that will address a whole gamut of issues and viewpoints related to the sea as addressed by historians and activists and appropriated by artists.Join Author and Mumbai History Fellow at Gateway House Sifra LentinArtist Meera Devidayal, Cartoonist Paul FernandesCurator, Maritime History Society, Mumbai Commodore Odakkal Johnson and Co-Founder at Marine Life of Mumbai Pradip Patade who will be in conversation with Archaeologist Kurush Dalal.This discussion will touch upon Maritime trade and the city’s earliest formed identity, that of a port, as well as its synergies, influences and cross dialogues with similar port cities. This talk will address the use of The Sea as a Protagonist in the work of artists and as represented in print. These experts will also discuss local marine ecosystems of our city’s coastline while taking cognizance of environmental crises and polluting factors which are impacting the water body that has nurtured us for centuries. Join us for a fascinating discussion that will engage with our city’s defining Maritime history and discuss contemporary issues and solutions to preserve the most precious natural resource that envelops our island city.

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    Sifra Lentin is a Mumbai-based writer and the Bombay History Fellow at Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations. She graduated in English from Elphinstone College, Mumbai, and went on to complete her Bachelor’s in General Law (BGL) from Government Law College, Mumbai. She has written for a wide spectrum of Mumbai-based newspapers and magazines – most notably Mid-Day, Reuters, The Times of India, The Sunday Observer, Hindustan Times, Taj Magazine, JetWings and One India One People. The books written by her are: the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet coffee table book ‘A Salute To The Sword Arm – A Photo Essay On The Western Fleet’ (April 2007), and more recently Our Legacy: the Dwarkadas family of Bombay (March 2018) on the 250 year old history of the eminent Halai Bhatia Dwarkadas Khimji family of Mumbai. She has also been published in three books: MARG’s ‘Indian Jewish Heritage – Ritual, Life-Cycle & Art’ (2002), One India One People’s book on Communities of India (2006), and recently in Primus Publications Mumbai Socio-Cultural Perspectives: Contributions of Ethnic Groups and Communities (2018), where she has written Chapter 10 on ‘Mumbai’s Jewish Community’. Ms. Lentin was recently awarded a Fellowship (October 2018) to the Herbert Katz Center for Advance Judaic Studies in Philadelphia for a project on the ‘Jews of Karachi’. Her Gateway House articles can be viewed on http://www.gatewayhouse.in/author/sifra-lentin/ She is also on the Board of Trustees of the Sir Jacob Sassoon School (Byculla, Mumbai).

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    Meera Devidayal graduated with English Literature from Loreto House, Kolkata in 1966, came to Mumbai in 1967. After attending JJ School of art for 3 years, she had her first exhibition in 1975.Being an essentially urban person, her art is grounded in the plethora of images that the city throws up. The attempt is to turn the ‘found image’ into a visual metaphor, and charge it with new meaning. For almost two decades, the city as Dream-World has been central to her work. Whether it is about ‘development’ (Dream-Home, 2003), or the migrant (Tum Kab Aaoge, 2005), and (Where I Live, 2009), or the mills turning to malls (A Terrible Beauty, 2014) or most recently about land taking over the sea (Water Has Memory, 2018), it deals with aspiration, tenacity, and greed. She uses a variety of elements in her work, including painting, posters, photography, video, recycled metal sheets, and even a taxi door. She shows with Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai.


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    Paul Fernandes was born in 1958. He schooled in St. Joseph's Boys School Bangalore. He later studied art at the Faculty of Fine Art, M.S. University Vadodara. He is one of Bangalore's better known illustrators and cartoonists. He has a prolific oeuvre of creative and commercial art and has found interest in varied subjects resulting in two galleries in Mumbai and Bangalore showcasing his work. Among the books he has illustrated and authored are: Shine Boards Arts - For Tame Pass. A compilation of authentic street signs to enjoy and appreciate the fast disappearing special skills of the commercial sign board artist; On a High Note - A Highly Inebriated Introduction to Western Classical Music; Bangalore - Swinging in the 70's - a nostalgic slice of life in a city gone past, featuring 70 Watercolours paintings; CoastLine - An Amuseum of Mumbai Musings (with a quick trip down the coast for good measure). This coffee table book was launched in January 2019 in Mumbai. Paul Fernandes now lives and works as a cartoonist in Bangalore, India

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    Commodore Odakkal Johnson, a Maritime Professional for over 36 years, joined the Indian Navy on 03 Aug 1987, after attaining the qualification of a Second Mate Certificate in the Merchant Navy. A Navigation and Aircraft Direction Specialist, he is an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and of College of Naval Warfare, Karanja. He has held important Command and Staff Appointments across a range of Naval Units and has undertaken significant work in Military Wargaming as also in Leadership-cum-Behavioural Studies. A Ph.D. in Civics and Politics, Cmde Johnson is a visiting faculty at University of Mumbai, Department of Civics and Politics and at the Naval War College. He has presented a number of papers on International Relations and India’s Maritime Heritage. He has authored a Book titled “Timeless Wake – The Legacy of Royal Indian Navy in World War II” and co-edited a compilation called, “Essays in Maritime Studies – Vol III,” both published by Maritime History Society, Mumbai in 2013 and 2016 respectively. At present, Commodore Johnson is posted as the Curator, Maritime History Society, Mumbai.

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    Pradip Patade is a watersports instructor and marine biology enthusiast. Pradip has nine years of field experience and leads shore walks to raise awareness about Maharashtra’s marine biodiversity. Intimately familiar with the shores of South Mumbai, he has been documenting the biodiversity and threats to these shores for several years now. His long-term aim of bringing these little-known details to the notice of Mumbai's citizens and decision-makers is what drives the Marine Life of Mumbai initiative.


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    Dr. Kurush Dalal is Assistant Professor (Archaeology) at the University of Mumbai. He did his BA in AIHC and History (Univ of Mumbai) and MA in Archaeology (Pune University). His PhD was on the Early Iron Age in Rajasthan (Pune University).  Subsequently he shifted his focus to the Early Medieval Period (predominantly) on the West Coast of India and have excavated the sites of Sanjan and Chandore. These sites have completely changed the way we see the West Coast of India between the Early Medieval and Colonial Periods. The huge quantities and varieties of ceramics, coins and glass of West Asian and Chinese origins identified by the team have created a seriation which allows new chronological attributions to sites. This database has now allowed archaeologists to identify over 25 coastal sites belonging to the Early Medieval Period. As of the last three years he is the Co-Director of the Salsette Explorations Project, a massive Urban Archaeology Project documenting the Archaeology of Mumbai.  He also actively works on Memorial Stones and Ass-curse Stones in India; he dabbles in Numismatics, Defence Archaeology and Architecture, Ethnoarchaeology and allied disciplines. As of the last five years he has taken a keen interest in researching Culinary Anthropology and Food Archaeology. He has published two edited volumes and 29 peer reviewed academic articles, he has also successfully guided two MA Dissertations. He currently teaches Archaeology and allied disciplines at the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies, University of Mumbai.