The Sassoon Dog and the Dock Art Project
Dogs peeing on the road are a common sight. So I wasn’t in the least surprised to see a larger than life wire installation of the Sassoon Dog lifting up his leg and peeing on the wall. That sure brought a smile to my face. The only one actually in a show that frankly left me bemused and disappointed.
Growing up, Sassoon Dock was an important part of my life. I passed it twice a day on my way to and from school . Even though it wasn’t a long stretch of road , I would hold my breath for a good two minutes as the bus rattled past .
Sassoon Dock was one of places where fishing boats brought their catch and the area around was full of little process houses where the catch was cleaned , processed and despatched to different parts of the world.
Of late there have been attempts at gentrifying the place and rumours of rejuvenating the dock to create a vibrant waterfront like the Piers of San Francisco!
So when Daughter No.1 alerted me about the Sasoon Dock Art show all the way from New Jersey, I had to check it out for myself. Since it was a Sunday Hubby Dear and I set out pretty late in the morning . Actually it was noon when we reached Sasoon Dock.
The sun was high up in the sky and the smell of fish was still very strong. It still looked very much like a fishing dock, filled with fishy activity. And when the signage to the show suddenly stopped, I wondered if we had come to the right place.
Across from the art show venue was a small shrine under the banyan tree.
Having no idea where the Valet was going to park the car, we parked a little while away right next to a open air barber shop. At least here we were sure of finding it when we returned.
We were tagged before we entered, having given our names to the organisers at the desk.
We entered a large hall with a warm light filtering through the high ceilinged room that had patches of ochre visible through the interesting installation of words of Hanif Kureshi evoking smells and sights superimposed on a fishing net ?
But by this time I had lost sight of Hubby Dear who was looking for his own favourite pee spot and entered the next hall which looked surprisingly like Mumbai’s messy buildings with washing hanging in your face
I walked through this messy installation and came into a courtyard
That continued the theme that was so aptly captured by another peeing dog . This time it was a life sized Sassoon Dog who lifted his leg up to the words :
To piss| to make a mess of :
“It’s all around us
That which we learn to un-see”
I was more bewildered by the next room which had bottles and stuff hanging in my face .
This was truly an Art for All event and the place was full of people one would never see at an art show . No perfumed ladies or fashionable gents but literally ordinary, everyday people who were as fascinated by the art as I was . Sadly, by this time I was completely disoriented and was more worried about losing Hubby Dear than appreciating the art .
I made my way through the hanging bottles only to find myself confronting a mirror! The other visitors who were equally startled, laughed in embarrassment and I retraced my steps to the entrance way.
Once outside, much like Alice, I found an arrow on the floor directing me to yet another room that said it was the last fisherman in Bombay
Again in a room shrouded in darkness , I couldn’t understand what to make of the installations beautiful as they were. This art show was way too cerebral for me and went completely over my head. May be an art tour is essential to truly appreciate this show.
The photograph room was interesting but with so much empty wall space that I felt there were exhibits still to be put up . Were they?
All in all, this was extremely disappointing showing . It is billed as 30 International artists for 50 days and promises to have Singapore Weekend (17-19 November )and a French Weekend ( 25-26 November) with curated art tours, films and workshops.
There are music concerts scheduled and a Koli festival from mid December. Find out more about it here.
Perhaps it will be a fun event after all
But for me, this was a rather damp squib.