Press Release

Mumbai comes to Tate Modern

Mumbai comes to Tate Modern: Press related to past exhibition.

Tate Modern
16 September 2006

Visit Tate Modern on Saturday 16 September for UBS Openings: Saturday Live Mumbai and experience the remarkable cultural scene of Mumbai. With discussions, films, performances, poetry and music on offer you will see some of the most pioneering creative works coming out of this lively and eclectic Indian metropolis at the moment. UBS Openings: Saturday Live is a new bi-monthly event programme at Tate Modern presenting cutting-edge contemporary performance and film, made possible with the support of global financial services firm, UBS.

When you arrive at Tate Modern there will be lots to choose from. You can find out how arts and culture have played a central role in the regeneration of the city Mumbai by joining the symposium Mapping Mumbai in the Starr Auditorium through out the day.

In the galleries and around the building you will see a performance called Encounter(s) by artists Tejal Shah and Varsha Nair, who swathed in embroidered white fabric will be linked together and will position themselves in different parts of the building during the day.

You will also see the beautiful Monali Meher on Level 5 in Idea and Object. Meher wears a half sari with half of her body covered with gold leaf. She will wonder in the gallery with a stick with a magnifying glass, reading a pre-written text and interacting with art works. Her performance Between the Familiar/ Unfamiliar, the Home and Heart, Beats a Golden Kiss will investigate love, language and inter-cultural exchange.

In the evening you can enjoy Cinema of Prayoga, a film series presenting experimental films by influential artists. Many of these have never been seen in the UK before and will reveal a rich and unseen history of Mumbai. There will be a book launch of Cinema of Prayoga: Indian Experimental Film and Video 1913-2006 to compliment the series.

Later the Café on Level 2 will be transformed. There will be live performances at 20.30 by D’Archetypes, London-based poets Shane Solanki and Nikesh Shukla. Using poetry and rap to discuss identity and its role in multicultural societies, the D’Archetypes combine engaging lyrical content with elements of comedy cabaret. Their words are underpinned by an eclectic soundtrack from ska, gypsy, reggae and hip hop.

At 21.30 Sujata and Taek Halaby will erupt from the crowd to perform Disco Dancer, a dance adapted from an Indian film made in 1982 by the same name. They will be closely followed at 22.00 by music from Mumbai-based musician Mukul, who fuses poetic lyricism with smoky beats to create a refined and fresh portrait of Mumbai.

Editor notes

Tate and UBS

Tate and UBS share a vision to open up art. Together we have created
UBS Openings, a dynamic and wide-reaching programme focused on the Tate Modern Collection.

The programme features the complete rehang of Tate Modern's permanent Collection, including a selection of works from The UBS Art Collection, an annual cultural festival, regular live events and an exciting range of activities for families.

By working together, we believe that our unique partnership will enable us to reach out to wider audiences than ever before.

Opening up art. Tate Modern Collection with UBS

Further Information

Symposium: Mapping Mumbai
Starr Auditorium, 10.30 – 17.00

Mumbai is an exciting, vibrant, diverse and contradictory metropolis. It is home to many artists and a burgeoning art scene, with an increasingly International presence. It is also the economic capital of a nation which is clearly emerging as a prominent player on the world stage. This event seeks to map Mumbai: it will look at some of the artists who live and work there and the ways in which the city has influenced their work. It also looks more broadly at role that the arts and culture have played in the regeneration of the city and how that role looks set to change in the next decades. The speakers include Girish Shahane, Rahul Srivastava, Sudhir Patwardhan, Shai Heredia and Ashok Sukumaran.  

Cinema of Prayoga: Indian Experimental Film and Video 1913–2006
Migration and [Dis]location
Starr Auditorium, 18.00 – 19.30

Cinema of Prayoga: Indian Experimental Film and Video 1913–2006
Friday 15 September – Tuesday 19 September 2006

Cinema of Prayoga presents artists' film work from India that, despite the popularity of Indian cinema, remains relatively unknown. Prayoga is a Sanskrit word which loosely translates as 'experiment' in English but can also mean 'representation'. This project aims to present these works in a comprehensive appraisal of powerful and personal film-making outside of the popular 'Bollywood' system. The Migration and [Dis]location programme focuses on a significant feature of contemporary Indian experimental film practice: the emergence of influential work by NRI (non-resident Indian) artists. In a variety of contexts, these artists live, study and/or work outside India and are returning to explore their cultural roots.

The films in this programme map these processes of migration, spatio-temporal disjuncture and cross-cultural dialogue, pointing to the range of self-reflexive strategies deployed by NRI artists in negotiating their postcolonial status. The films screened include Shumona Goel's portrayal of alienation and dislocation in Bombay, Anuradha Chandra's process-specific meditation on time and interiority, and Xav Leplae's ludic restaging of a 1973 Bollywood classic.

Curated by Karen Mirza & Brad Butler, (

With support from The British Council and Arts Council England.

Tejal Shah and Varsha Nair
Public spaces,
Swathed in a shell of white embroidered fabric, two bodies appear in the urban landscape, adapting to the architecture of the site. The straightjacket-cum-exoskeleton that links the two artists, is joined at the arms, forming a connected ‘bridge’ that nevertheless speaks of distances between people.
In generating this project, Tejal Shah (Mumbai) and Varsha Nair (Bangkok) exchanged ideas by email about their respective interests inthe edge of everyday normality and in the loneliness evident within the teeming cities in which they live.

With Encounter(s), Shah and Nair will create a durational tableau vivant within and responding to the public spaces of Tate Modern.

Tejal Shah lives and works in Mumbai, India.
Selected solo shows include Gallerie Mirchandani+Steinruecke, Mumbai, 2006; 'What are You?', Thomas Erben gallery, New York, 2006; The Tomb of Democracy, gallery Pruss&Ochs, Berlin, 2003. Selected group shows include Sub-Contingent: The Indian subcontinent in contemporary art, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy, 2006; Present-Future, National gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, 2005; Indian Summer, Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 2005.

Shah is also co-founder, organiser and curator for 'Larzish - International Film Festival of Sexuality and Gender Plurality, India' 2003-2004,

Varsha Nair lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand.
Selected shows include Sub-Contingent The Indian Subcontinent in Contemporary Art, Fondazion Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy, 2006; NRLA, Glasgow, UK, 2006 ; In-between places, meeting point, Si-am Art Space, Bangkok, 2005 (solo); Video as Urban Condition, Austrian Culture Forum, London, UK, 2004 ; With(in), Art In General, New York , 2002.

Nair is also organiser and co-curator of No Man's Land, a web project for Womanifesto 2006,

Between the Familiar/ Unfamiliar, the Home and Heart, Beats a Golden Kiss
Monali Meher
‘Idea and Object’ display, Level 5, 13.00 – 15.00

In this durational performance Between the Familiar/ Unfamiliar, the Home and Heart, Beats a Golden Kiss, Monali Meher wears a half sari with her body partly covered with gold leaf. She wanders between artworks in the 'Idea and Object' display with a stick attached to a magnifying glass, moving from room to room, reading a text she has written out loud as well as interacting with the various artworks.

The title here plays on the word "kiss", which, for the artist, is an expression of love for another as well as for her homeland. It also alludes metaphorically to the spoken word. Meher’s text reflects her experience of Mumbai and its cultural relationship with the artworks in the museum.

Curated by Arshiya Lokhandwala, 2006

Monali Meher was born in Pune, India. In 1990, she graduated from Sir J.J. School of Arts, Mumbai, B.F.A. in painting. In 1998 she received ‘Unesco -Aschberg’ Residency by Vienna Federal Chancellery for the Arts and Science where she researched with the time and space factor in her work and began working with process of decay. In 1998 made her first performance, Reflect, A personal window display, and in Lakeeren art gallery and Jehangir art gallery in Mumbai. In 2000-01, she was accepted in Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten, funded by Dutch Ministry foreign Affairs & Nuffic, Huygens grant, Amsterdam for research residency program. Her work has been published in books, for example Student Body by Marina Abramovic, Shifting Map, RAIN project by RABK, Third Text, Love & Death, Egon Schiele catalogue, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. For last 7 years she has been working with performances, video, photography, Installations. Since year 2000, she has been living and working in Amsterdam, Holland.

Arshiya Lokhandwala was the founder and curator (1995-2002) of Lakeeren Art Gallery in Mumbai. She was the recipient of the Charles Wallace India Trust award in 200/1 for an M A in Creative Curating at GoldsmithsCollege, London. She was a participant at the Documenta 11 Education program in Kassel in 2002 under the artistic curator Okwui Enwezor. She is currently a PhD candidate in the History of Art department at Cornell University, USA and also works as an independent curator and critic.

Café 2, 20.30

The D'Archetypes are London-based poets Shane Solanki and Nikesh Shukla. Using poetry and rap to discuss identity and its role in multicultural societies the D’Archetypes combine engaging lyrical content with elements of comedy cabaret. Their words are underpinned by an eclectic soundtrack borrowing from ska, gypsy, reggae and hip hop.

Shane Solanki honed his skills as a wordsmith with Ninja Tune, and as a music producer with Talvin Singh’s ‘Anokha’. Nikesh Shukla also performs as Yam Boy and has made regular appearances on the BBC and in the live poetry performance circuit.

Their first EP ‘Jerusalem’, which draws comparisons between London today and the iconic hymn penned by William Blake, will be released on the ‘Frootitunes’ record label in October. The featured tracks are co-produced by Marc Lee Brown, the producer of KV5 and Smoke City.

Disco Dancer
Sujata Goel and Tarek Halaby
Café 2, 21.45

Sujata Goel and Tarek Halaby will erupt from the crowd gathered in the Café 2 to perform Disco Dancer, a duet for a man and a woman. This is a dance adapted from an Indian film called 'DISCO DANCER' made in 1982. It attempts to reconstruct a 'B-grade' style of Bollywood film dancing, to examine how popular dance languages are representative of social issues, such as sexuality and stardom. This piece is an introduction to a longer research that is rooted in studying the relationship between dance and cinema, and how the two mediums function as representations of society.

Sujata Goel is a dancer trained in a form of South Indian classical dance called Bharatanatyam. She studied in the traditional style of learning known as 'gurukula', in Madras, India for 7 years, first under V.P. and Shanta Dhananjayan and then at Kalakshetra College, where she finished her BA in Fine Arts/Bharatanatyam.

She joined PARTS, a contemporary dance school run by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker in BrusselsBelgium, to begin making her own work and studying Western dance forms, both classical and contemporary.

She has recently graduated from PARTS, and is now based in Brussels, where she teaches and is making her own work, currently in collaboration with Tarek Halaby (PARTS), filmmaker Laurent Van Lancker, Celine Perroud (ex DV8), and Sancra Iche (PARTS)

Café 2, 22.30

Mumbai-based musician Mukul started djing in the early 90s in Mumbai as part of a collective. He then started to work on ambient sounds, creating urban soundscapes with hip pop beats. He finally decided to compose music for his own voice and launched his first album Stray in January 2006, released by SonyBMG India.

Mukul fuses poetic lyricism with smoky beats to create a portrait of Mumbai that is both refined and unexpected. Rahul Verma, Music critic, describes Mukul’s music as “21st Century Blues: deep widescreen electronica capturing the hopes, fears and claustrophobia of modern metropolitan life through Mukul's subtle, sexy musings. Massive Attack meets Blade Runner in Bombay.”