trespassers only

What values do we attach to the idea of land? How do we adapt to the places we inhabit, how do they in turn shape our past and identities? Are our cities really ours?

Trespassers Only invites a shifting of the city, where the forgotten and unnoticed peripheries of Mumbai become the new centre, the breeding ground provoking new ways to experience or imagine our living and lived spaces. This is the walk into the forbidden place where migration, belonging, identity, dislocation, possession cram together as they clash, devour, rot but also negotiate, engage and blossom into an opening of a new discourse.

These works are an extension of [en]counters – land(of)mine, an art project in public spaces that interrogated the very idea of land in Mumbai where they reclaimed spaces through guerrilla actions, burial rituals, marriage processions, recorded memoirs of altered landscapes, drawing lines that marked appropriated paths, celebrating cycles of birth and death, occupying nomadic zones, campaigning to repossess our city. Inside, they ferment and branch out into new forms as they cope, copulate, and conceive.

Soil as territory, ground and heritage, becomes the gluing agent connecting the works within to the outside and becomes a metaphor for recasting foundations from where to grow. As we place art in complex situations, what emerges are prototypes celebrating the point of intersection between the vertical development of urban structures and the horizontal expansion of social relations.

Thus, by questioning the absurdities of urban planning and development, by investigating the thick networks of solidarity and despair defining Mumbai’s relational fabric, by exploring one’s sense of belonging and possession, can art become a tool to re-consider, re-envision, re-make our cities?