Design & Community Are At The Forefront Of This New Mumbai Gallery

47-A Design Gallery; Floriana at 47-A
47-A Design Gallery; Floriana at 47-A(L) 47-A Instagram; Baro Market (R)

A small by-lane in Girgaum Chowpatty is probably the last place you’d look for a design gallery. But that’s what makes 47-A so special. Co-founded by Baro Market and C&L Design from Chatterjee & Lal, 47-A is a new gallery for contemporary design and history.
Baro Market is an online platform that brings together folk artists, craftsmen, and designers from all across the country to create things that are beautiful and functional at the same time. Baro Market brings design practices to the gallery, while Chatterjee and Lal focus on design histories, in keeping with their exhibitions at the Colaba-based art gallery. The two together are at the intersection of art and design, both functional and aesthetic elements combined.

47-A’s address is a complete 180 to the other art galleries in Mumbai, which are usually placed further South. Built on the ground floor of the heritage Crasto bungalow, with walls painted cobalt blue with yellow gold accents, it’s an unmissable sight at the tail end of the Khotachi Wadi heritage lane in Girgaum. It’s one of the few bungalows that has survived the days since its inception in the mid-1800s. According to owner Regan Crasto, the bungalow was bought in 1857 by his ancestor Balthazar Henriques and was then passed down from generation to generation. The ground floor of the bungalow has seen different variations, from a gym to a printing press, finally arriving at its latest avatar, the gallery conceptualized by the three founders- Mortimer Chatterjee and Tara Lal of Chatterjee and Lal, and Srila Chatterjee of Baro Market.

Khotachi Wadi is home to Girgaum, among other wadis from the 1800s. Traditionally belonging to the East Indian community, today only a few vibrant Portuguese-influenced bungalows are left from that era, with the rest of the area being taken over by godowns and other small shops.
The founders of 47-A, Mortimer Chatterjee, Tara Lal, and Srila Chatterjee, found a need for a deeper engagement with design and combined that with a want to contribute to the conservation efforts ongoing in the Khotachi Wadi area. According to Crasto, Khotachi Wadi represents a brief glimpse in time to the origins of Bombay and what is left of what was once just three islands and a small fishing village.

47-A's vibrant blue facade in Khotachi Wadi, Girgaum
47-A's vibrant blue facade in Khotachi Wadi, Girgaum
Image Courtesy: The Indian Express

The gallery opened on April 9th of this year, with its inaugural exhibition ‘Open’, featuring two films on the oral history of Khotachi Wadi, archival family photographs, and even a rare chair by M.F Hussain on display. The opening was also part of a weekend-long celebration organized by fashion designer James Ferreira at his ancestral home in Khotachi Wadi. The celebration featured food catered by the locals, pop-up art exhibitions, and sketches of the area painted by urban artists.

The gallery has had two showings since then, with its current one, Floriana, in full swing. Curated by Nazneen Jehangir, Floriana is a celebration of flora and foliage, and their subtle influence on all our senses. Featuring artists like Alisha Dutt Islam, Ziya Tarapore, Rooshad Shroff Architecture + Design, and Libellule, the exhibition is a treat for the senses. With lush greenery, colourful flowers, and beautiful tapestries within unassuming white walls, it feels like the gates are open to the outdoors, inviting discovery, and as the curator puts it, adding magic to everyday objects.

47-A’s year-round programming and strong curatorial potential make this a must-see for any art and design lover in Mumbai, and the perfect hideaway to show your tourist friends around. The layout of the gallery is welcoming, with double doors and a smiling face at the entrance, and an assuredly breathtaking first view of any exhibit they might have on at the moment. 47-A is inviting, un-intimidating, and a true celebration of the community it is situated in.

Find Chatterjee and Lal here

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