Public art installations and monuments beautify, and often impart identity to their surroundings. They can bespeak the collective public conscience, like The Common Man at Mumbai’s Worli Seaface, or serve as gentle reminders of history, like the Gateway of India. While tons of proposals for concepts and designs for such public art installations are received by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the setting up of the Mumbai Urban Art Commission (MUAC) to address to these incoming art ideas, earlier this week on Tuesday.
The subject and design of art pieces to be installed in the Mumbai are often debated. Whether a particular art installation is relevant to the surrounding context, immediate communities, socio-cultural aspects, and economic viabilities, are some of the scrutinies that any public art installation undergoes before the decision regarding its implementation is struck. Take the recent case of the Shivaji Maharaj memorial statue that the Maharashtra State Government intends to build: the idea is still at the receiving end of several questions by the citizens and certain fishing communities, pertaining to its feasibility and necessity. It will be the responsibility of the MUAC to look into such matters and the others mentioned before, as well as ‘provide advice and guidance to any local body to provide an aesthetic touch to building projects or development proposals,’ as reported by The Hindu.
The MUAC shall be a committee of three members headed by a chairperson, all hailing from the field of art and architecture. They shall serve a three-year term, but the BMC shall also appoint a director who will be a civic official, to run the day-to-day operations of the committee. After their appointment in another three weeks’ time, the committee shall come up with a proposal for the process of selection and maintenance of the art installations that receive a nod. According to this report by The Indian Express, the committee shall also work with BMC’s garden department to suggest landscape designs for public spaces that would be planned under the Development Plan 2034.
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