The 17th annual Kala Ghoda Arts Festival just wrapped up another successful week in Mumbai, India. The festival is a community-wide celebration, reminiscent of Art Basel, and features artists, designers, chefs, musicians and so much more.
During my time in India last year, I was fortunate to find a break from the wedding I was attending. I took the opportunity to spend a few hours meandering through streets and alleys of Kala Ghoda, which is Hindi for “Black Horse”. With the next collection of The Storied Table in mind, I weaved in and out of shops and galleries, nestled in charming nooks all across this crescent-shaped arts district.
First stop on my list was Fab India, where rainbows of luscious textiles, in various sizes and styles, decorated the store as far as the eye could see. Hours could easily be passed weaving in and out of the stacks, finding just the right one.
And of course, there’s the art! There is a delightful abundance of art galleries in Kala Ghoda… modern, traditional, global, local…so much fodder to spark those artistic ideas. One of my favorite “galleries” that I stumbled upon was that of a man who had painted thousands of scenes of Mumbai streets. He had a little 4x4 stall on the sidewalk, and refreshed his walls every morning with his newest paintings, while he sipped his morning chai. Talking to him about his decades on this street corner as he followed the arts emergence throughout the years was fascinating.
My favorite shop of all was the Artisans Centre for Art, Craft and Design. The shop featured high-end luxury goods, all handmade by local artisans. Paintings, costume jewelry and vibrant textiles lined the walls and display tables… I was giddy from all of the visual stimulation.
Being in the center of it all, I could see why Kala Ghoda is such a creative incubator of artistic talent. From wall murals, to the contrast of the British and India architecture, to the colorful walls, there were sources of inspiration as far as the eye could see. One of my favorite pops of color was from famous Orthodox Jewish synagogue, Knesset Eliyahoo.
There were a few designers who piqued our curiosity so we hope to bring a slice of creative Kala Ghoda to The Storied Table soon. And in the meantime, I’m looking forward to my next aimless walk of discovery in the neighborhood when I’m back in India – maybe I’ll time I’ll time it to be around the Arts Festival!