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Archipelagic Archivist: An Exhibition by Parag Tandel At TARQ


Archipelagic Archivist is an invitation by Artist Prag Tandel to immerse yourself in the layers of Mumbai's history, to explore the narratives woven by the Kolis and their intimate relationship with the land and sea. As you venture through Tandel's artistry, you'll discover an experience that transcends time, embracing celebration, loss, and a resilient hope for a harmonious future. Don't miss your chance to witness this artistic marvel; join them at TARQ and become a part of Mumbai's living heritage.


In the bustling urban landscape of Mumbai, where towering skyscrapers and modern infrastructure dominate the horizon, it's easy to forget that this metropolis was once a collection of seven enchanting islands. These islands, the cradle of a vibrant cultural heritage stewarded by the indigenous Koli community, are the heart of an upcoming art exhibition that promises to transport us back in time. Step into the world of Parag Tandel: Archipelagic Archivist, a captivating exhibition curated by the visionary Shaunak Mahbubani, and get ready to embark on a journey that seamlessly weaves art, culture, and history. Parag Tandel, a gifted artist hailing from Thane's Chendani Koliwada, brings forth an extraordinary collection that resonates with the hidden stories of Mumbai's past. Through intricate sculptures and thought-provoking installations, Tandel casts a spotlight on the rich tapestry of Koli culture and their deep-rooted connection with the coastal ecosystems. The Kolis, the original custodians of these lands and waters, have safeguarded their heritage through generations of oral tradition, often overlooked by traditional historical narratives. Tandel's ingenious approach aims to reclaim their narrative by presenting a fresh perspective on archiving.

Curator Shaunak Mahbubani beautifully encapsulates Tandel's innovative archiving technique, drawing parallels with Édouard Glissant's concept of archipelagic thinking. This artistic approach intertwines a sense of belonging with a dynamic engagement with the world. Mahbubani describes how Tandel's practice has evolved over the years, culminating in a remarkable fusion of his Koli ancestry and a profound response to the evolving cityscape and global environmental concerns. As you walk through the exhibition, you'll be transported through time, tracing a narrative thread that spans from the Portuguese colonial era to the present-day coastal development initiatives. Tandel's mastery comes to life through sculptures crafted from the Jambul tree, embodying the echoes of bygone eras when age-old jambul winemaking was outlawed. The limited edition publication, 'Ek Bagal Mein Chand Hoga Ek Bagal Mein Rotiyan', serves as a culinary journey into Koli kitchens, revealing cherished recipes that face the threat of extinction due to urbanization and ocean pollution.

But Tandel's vision extends beyond the pages of history. Collaborating with skilled metalwork artists from the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, Tandel merges indigenous techniques from disparate corners of the country, giving birth to a mesmerizing series of 12 mixed media sculptures titled 'Into The Bones.' These sculptures embody a fusion of traditions, a testament to the artist's determination to usher in new possibilities while honoring the old. The crescendo of the exhibition lies in a breathtaking assembly of thread sculptures, a marriage of the Koli faith's traditional armatures, and the dynamic energy of the ocean. These sculptures, infused with a sense of mysticism, serve as talismans invoking a future where humans and coastal ecosystems coexist harmoniously.



Parag Tandel is no stranger to the art world. A Mumbai-based artist with an impressive artistic education, Tandel has showcased his talent through solo exhibitions and group shows across India. His work, featured in prominent galleries like Pundole Art Gallery and TARQ, has consistently captivated audiences and critics alike.


Mark your calendars for the preview on Thursday, August 10th, 2023, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the renowned TARQ gallery. The exhibition continues its enchanting display until September 30th, 2023, welcoming art enthusiasts and history aficionados alike. For your convenience, the gallery doors are open from Tuesday to Saturday, welcoming visitors from 11:00 am to 6:30 pm.


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