Artists’ eye view of city, expressed through ‘energy’

'Encounters-PowerPlay', an art project, helps citizens look at Mumbai in new light, make positive changes

When artist Wai Ian Chung took a stroll down a Koli village nestled alongside Bandra's Carter Road, she felt a "sense of community", otherwise missing in the cold heights of Hong Kong skyscrapers where she resides.

"I saw children playing together, residents sitting and chatting with joy," she says as she talks of positive and organic spaces, which "Hong Kong lost decades ago"."In Hong Kong, we are losing common public spaces and people avoid each other."

Wai, a 25-year old artist, is part of 'Encounters-PowerPlay', an art project that will feature workshops, exhibitions and installations by over a dozen artists from around the world at various locations in the city, including Horniman Circle, Juhu beach and Carter Road promenade.

The Art Circus, being organised by Art Oxygen and Asia Art Projects, is aimed at creating a dialogue through art, with installations at public places where one would least expect to see them.

"The idea is to help people look at their city in a new light. The projects are aimed at helping people make positive changes," said Elise Fosger Vander Elst, director of Asia Arts Project. "All artists are using the common theme of energy as an inspiration. So, there is energy in a community, in relationships, electricity," Wai added.

While some installations, like the red wooden swing at Horniman Circle, are already on display, some, such as a 'levitation device', will be put up next week. "The Red Swing Project, with a do-it-yourself approach, will generate unexpected playgrounds in the city," said Claudio Maffioletti, founder, ArtOxygen. Indian artist Sourav Biswas's swings at random places are aimed at bringing out the child in you.

German origin artist Tobias Megerle will create an 'invisible' seat — those who sit on it will appear to levitate. Among other concepts are installations by artists Reena Kallat, who plays with the idea of "hierarchies and power relationships through a puzzle-like cube sculpture" formed by 20 sports podiums with jumbled numbers and levels and Mansi Bhatt's concept, 'No Moral', through which she investigates the meaning of energy as love, walking through Carter Road promenade as an angel.

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