A watercolour sketch of a man on a cycle sharpening a knife along with a man standing with two briefcase-esque displays for bangles
One man show is a series featuring the silent or sometimes not-so-silent ones who move stealthily across the city. Zainab Tambawalla

A Zainab Tambawalla Watercolour Series Captures Urban Mumbai's Blue Collar Professions

Zainab Tambawalla's art encapsulates their ability to channel the energy and spirit of their surroundings into lifelike slices of life that you can't help but be transfixed by. Their series 'One Man Show' is a tribute to the workers that ply their trades within Mumbai's urban sprawl. We caught up with them recently to find out more.

Tell us more about your project.

One man show is a series featuring the silent or sometimes not so silent ones who move stealthily across the city servicing its people in the most efficient manner. Their gear designed in a way that allows them to travel by various means of public transport, spoiling us with the comfort of getting everything at our doorstep.

What are some of your biggest inspirations over the years of your artistic career?

The urge, the thrill of being able to breathe life into a creation and then the joy of seeing that creation come to life, is my biggest inspiration and what keeps me going

A watercolour sketch of a man on a cycle sharpening a knife along with a man standing with two briefcase-esque displays for bangles
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Describe your creative process and the purpose with which you create.

Since 2017, I picked up urban sketching after a long gap. It started off as a practice to bring more fluency to my visual language and my work. Over the years I have experienced the fast changing landscape of Mumbai city. Architecture which has lived its life is giving way to tall unaesthetic skyscrapers. The charming balconies, chawls and the entire eco system that it brings with it, is disappearing. The visual language of Mumbai is changing rapidly. This made me realise the importance of documenting all aspects of the city.

What are some of your biggest influences as an artist?

Since a large part of my what I do is the magic of the watercolours as a medium, I am completely blown away with those who have mastered the medium and are able to bring in play into their work along with doing justice to the medium

A watercolour sketch of a man on a cycle sharpening a knife along with a man standing with two briefcase-esque displays for bangles
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Who are some artists who are currently on your radar?

I love the works of Marc Folly, George Butler, Shari Blaukoph (is an all time favourite), Suhita Shirodkar, Uma Kelkar, Felicity House, Maru Godas, Inma Serrano: the list is quite endless.

What are some things you learned while putting this project together?

That this is work in progress. There are infinite aspects of the city that can be captured and documented.

A project you wish you were a part of?

Mapping Mumbai visually, every aspect of it.

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