5 Indian Artists Imagine a Better Mumbai in 2020
January 9, 2020
The last decade has brought a new awareness of the importance of cities. Cities are the trend of the future, we are told, where younger generations will congregate as we get older, where environmental solutions will grow from density and resource sharing. According to the UN, by 2050 more people will live in cities than in suburbs – 6 billion of them. India alone will add 400 million people to its cities by that same year. Given this trend, it is critical that we plan our cities well, and we have seen a lot of developing countries around the world taking a step towards better urban planning practices.
Cities of the future will need to be dense and well-planned to keep their carbon footprint low, to keep their public transport accessible, and their growth more equitable. 2020 brings to Mumbai a new decade, a new Maharashtra State Government, and a renewed chance to speak up for their city. We wanted to celebrate that spirit through a collaboration with five local artists, to visualize their pride for Mumbai.
All Mumbaikars know theirs is the best city in India: Marine Drive, record-breaking showings of DDLJ, vadapav, and measuring your commute in stations, not kilometers is all part of life in the City of Dreams. Mumbai Twitter is full of jokes about reluctant rickshaw drivers and what your train stop says about you, but also full of Mumbai love.
Mumbai has one of the most robust public transport systems in India, but is also one of the most congested cities in the world, according to 2019 reports, with Mumbaikars spending 65% extra travel time in traffic. In the recent state elections, running parties pledged to solve the transport woes of the city, through improved roads, cleaner transport, or the new Metro. It is time for them to step up and make good on their promise. In 2019, Mumbai rallied around beach cleanups in Versova, deforestation drives in Aarey, and freedom of speech all over the city, and we expect no less this year. Local citizens celebrated their first week of 2020 standing up for what they believe in. This year is going to be the year of change.
5 Mumbaikar artists show us their vision for a future Mumbai, one with better public transport powered by renewable energy, that keeps the city green and the fog seasonal! They visualize a city powered by clean energy, that draws on Mumbai’s tradition of public transport, and is inclusive of everyone. Check out their pieces below about keeping Mumbai #SolarwalaBEST.
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Based in Malad
“The city of Mumbai might be quite polluted, as cities generally tend to be. We must preserve our green cover where we have it, and harness nature instead of working against it.” – Mira Malhotra
Mira’s comment about cities being polluted is absolutely true! While Mumbai is not as polluted as many North Indian cities, the air quality in winter is often somewhere in the ‘unhealthy’ category, and the city has lost 60% of its green cover in the last 40 years. Mumbai has a fighting chance to improve its air quality, and it’s time to ‘harness nature’ to ride into a cleaner future.
Mira is a visual artist, illustrator and graphic designer from Mumbai. Her style is characterised by her offbeat humour, objects around her, an unabashed love for colour, and is balanced by her involvement in real, pressing issues facing the Indian subcontinent today.
Based in Mumbai Central
“The Dabawallas on their bicycles are an integral part of Mumbai’s culture giving us the perfect solution for an economical and pollution-free mode of transport. Similarly, we need to choose a mode of transportation which has no adverse effect on the environment. As citizens, we can be a wire that connects every individual to start a conversation in taking a step towards a new and sustainable mode of living.” – Prince Lunawara
Mumbai’s dabbawallas are internationally famous, running for the last 125 years, and rated for their Six Sigma efficiency amongst the top companies in the world. Dabbawallas are the perfect symbol of Mumbai’s past and its future, finding ways to integrate with Mumbai’s traffic and culture without adding burdens or inefficiencies to the system. A sustainable way of transport and of life, that is uniquely Mumbai.
Prince is a Mumbai-based illustrator and visual artist. He draws inspiration for his art from the city and life around him that he portrays through a delightful composition of organic textures and forms.
His Work | Instagram | Facebook
Based in Vashi
“The colour blue in my illustration denotes the spirit of Mumbai which is slowly fading away with the grey pollution. Let’s make this city blue again and use renewable energy to power better public transport!” – Nitasha Nambiar
It’s getting to the point where Mumbaikars waking up to a foggy winter morning can’t be sure if it’s smog or fog hiding their blue skies. While most of Mumbai’s pollution comes from industrial sources, pollution from vehicles is climbing up every year! Nitasha’s illustration dreams of bluer skies over a greener Mumbai.
Nitasha is a Mumbai-based cartoonist, illustrator and graphic facilitator who has worked across India. She has a unique spark of originality and strategic thinking.
Based in Ghatkopar
“Change usually begins in the heart. You need to feel the conviction. This is why I have chosen to depict the solar-paneled bus at the center of the heart of this city.” – Arshad Sayyed
People say ‘Mumbai is my heart, Bombay is my soul’. Whatever you call it, Mumbai’s heart beats strong. And every Mumbaikar’s heart beats with it. Change begins in the heart, says Arshad, and change begins in the city’s arteries: its streets and roads that move people and life from one place to another, all to the beat of the city’s rhythm.
Arshad is a Mumbai-based designer and illustrator. He captures local flavours in the complexity of a muted colour palette.
Based in Bandra
“Mumbai has always been a city that gives; whether it be a dream job to a kid straight out of college, a cozy little space to make a home, new friends that turn out to be family and unending connectivity all across the city that always seems larger than life. And we have taken what the city offered us so lovingly. But now let’s stop to see what we can do to help Mumbai get cleaner and smarter, so she can continue to give to us and to everyone else with a pocket full of dreams.” – Pearl D’Souza
Pearl is an illustrator and visual artist based in Mumbai. She has a keen eye for local design and storytelling.
How can we say it better than Pearl did? Mumbai is a city of unending connectivity and generosity, and our choices can keep her that way. One of the ways we’re choosing to do that is by asking BEST to add new buses to their fleet so Mumbai remains well connected, and Mumbaikars can travel in comfort, convenience and sustainable public transport. These artists shared their vision of what that future could look like with sustainable public transport; what’s yours?