Mayuresh Shirolkar & Janaki Lele

India & India

I am the River, I am the City

Various Sizes, Multiple Elements / Panels
120 gsm paper, Vellum tracing paper, nylon strings

We make the city and the city makes us. It feels like a giant living being that has the ability to move us. Mayuresh and Janaki have chosen the song, ‘I am the City’ by ABBA for their paper duet. Both of them have lived and worked here as professional Architects. Mayuresh has a lifetime connect and explores the city through urban sketching and his intimate watercolour paintings. Janaki moved here as a teenager, and after a long gap, is again rekindling her relationship with the city. She cuts paper into intricate stories of the human mind and of faraway lands. The name Pune is derived from the Marathi word, ‘Punyanagari’- the city of virtue. At the confluence of the rivers Mula and Mutha - the city is considered sacred or ‘punya’. The city derives its identity from these and the artist duo try to weave a moving tale of them flowing with the rivers and the city - all identities fusing in this fluidity of ever changing, ever perennial motion. ‘Development’ in Indian cities is often frantic, chaotic and random, and while the description of the traditional Punyanagari has a lyricism to it, like a DV Paluskar Tila Kamod bandish (a river winding through a landscape mosaic), now, the way Pune is developing currently - really does feel closer to the slightly frantic and drone-like breathless tone of ‘I am the City’ by ABBA. The very same city from two different eras melds together in this immersive installation by the duo.

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