2003 -2006

                                                    Salaam Mumbai
                                                   Jehangir Art Gallery  Mumbai 2006

I came to Mumbai for the first time in the year 1991 by the delayed Geetanjali Express. It was 10:00 pm of that night when I got out of V.T. Station and was astonished and partly scared by the sight of high-speed vehicles and sky-scrapers. Somehow I could find a simple lodge facing V.T Station. Initially, it was very difficult to sleep due to mixed fear and anxiety. But after sometime, I did not remember, how I slept and the morning dawned. As the sun rose, I looked out of the window, and there stood the majestic, imperial V.T Station. For a moment, I felt like taking colors and brush to paint it on paper. But soon I realized that I had to go for the entrance test for admission to the Sir J.J. School of Arts.
         I was admitted to the Sir J. J. school of Arts and later did all my education in Mumbai. Being a part of Mumbai, I developed special love and attraction for Mumbai.
        Though I worked on visual art continuously for 10-15 years and handled many themes and subjects through my painting, I could not forget my small village where I was born and spent my early years of my life. “The View”, “Light and Shadow”, “Drishti”, “Forgotten Memories of My Childhood Village”, “My Village” etc. are some of the major series that I have worked on in the past. But in Mumbai, I felt, was missing in all the above series in spite of my attraction for it which lay deep in my subconscious. So, I decided that after having stayed in Mumbai for 10-15 years, I must depict Mumbai in the series called “Salaam Mumbai”.
         I decided to do the whole series with “Knife” so that the painting texture on canvas would definitely convey a strong message. In the last so many years, I had developed the style of handling the “Knife” which would render special texture, for and uniqueness to painting. In fact while work in with knife my hand gets magical power. The working of hand of canvas movement of the body and the subsequent effects on the canvas immense please the unforgettable pleasure which nothing else in the world can give.
        In this series “Salaam Mumbai” I chased to do ‘figurative drawing’ because Mumbai would be in complete without all type of men and women the Mumbaikars. Like the ever running local trains mumbaikars never stop. This ever running life in Mumbai, I wanted to catch in my work.
       I had never done ‘figurative painting’ before. I had painted landscapes primarily and that too with knife. In painting with knife, I prefer acrylic colors as the best medium because I paint at a very fast pace, and the acrylic which dries up fast, is my first choice I put thick layers of acrylic one after the other on the canvas till I achieve the desired effect in any painting. Many a times, these effects come out so well that they drive mad. I also planned to use watercolors in “Salaam Mumbai”. Though I used to paint a lot in water color during my school days, I never displayed my work in water color which I repent very much. Therefore, now I want to bring before you, my work in watercolor also.
            Most of us are mumbaikars and know that a lot of work has been done on Mumbai so far. But all such work and exhibition could never impress me because that was never related to Mumbai along with its people. All that work was only concerned with the building and architecture of the British Empire. And that was all. In fact, Mumbai is recognized by its people, the mumbaikar, who need to be portrayed in true color and variety. After the fall of British Empire, Mumbai has change a lot and has undergone any social, economic and cultural   changes. Therefore, along with the use and palatial buildings, the further folks, poor slum-dwellers, their life style and struggle also need to be taken into account.
Went I am painting CST , Nariman Point {Queen’s Necklace},I can not forget Dharavi Slums, Chawls, Dabbawalas traveling by local train, collies at railway station cladding red uniform with scarf  around neck and their searching eyes waiting for train and still having contentment on their face. This complete picture of Mumbai is portrayed as the two sides of the same coin. Similarly, local train best buses, heap of fishes on the sea –shore and crows-there al free-birds of Mumbai-that are omnipresent, are the most common features of Mumbai. Mumbaikars cannot shake off their relationship with crows of Mumbai. The crow is not just black-colored bird to me. The different shades of black color of the crow always attract me. Therefore, you will often find crows peeping in my paintings.
Many people are frequent visitors to Haji Ali, Mumba Devi, Siddhi-Vinayak, Mount Mary etc. whom I have tried to put on the canvas.
 At the Gateway of India, my favorite destination after the college hours, I could not miss those insistent cameramen, ear-cleaners, with turbans, binocular men who promise to show you distant sights. These are a few images from the storehouse of my memories.
On the theme of “Faces of Mumbai” I have painted a few representative pictures of “Dabawallas”, ”Coolies”, “Kolis”, “Ear-Cleaners”, “Taxi-Drivers” and “Crows”.
I have portrayed Ganpati Immersion and Govinda too.
There is a sense of cohesion in the texture of painting due to the use of knife and bold strokes. Even while using water color, I avoid careful delicateness and prefer to paint with bold strokes to give different moods to paintings
I must confess that I could not realize how quickly the past two years have passed while working on “Salaam Mumbai”.
 This series has taken me a step forward as an artist because I have done ‘figurative painting’ for the first time and that too in Mumbai. So I dedicate these paintings to Mumbai, Salaam Mumbai.

   Raj More

Title-Ear cleaner,size-24''-60'',Acrylic on canvas.2006 Mumbai

Title-A real Mumbaikar,size-48'-48'',Acrylic on canvas.2006 Mumbai

Title-Coolies,size-36''-48'',Acrylic on canvas.2006 Mumbai

Title- Crow (A real mumbaikar),size-24''-24'',Acrylic on canvas.2006 Mumbai

Title-Ganesh festival,size-30''-54'',Acrylic on canvas.2005 Mumbai

Title-Gateway Mumbai photo wala,size-36''-36'',Acrylic on canvas.2005

Title-Koli girl,size-36''-54'',Acrylic on canvas.2005 Mumbai

Title-Ganesh Visarjan,size-48''-72'',Acrylic on canvas.2006

Title-Mount Mary,size-60''-72'',Acrylic on canvas.2005

Title-Mumbai chwal,size-48''-72'',Acrylic on canvas.2005 

Title-Mumbai Dabawalla,size-36''-36'',Acrylic on canvas.2006 Mumbai

Title-Mumbai Worli Queen necklace,size-48''-72'',Arylic on canvas

Title-Mumbai Local,size-36''-48'',Acrylic on canvas.2005 Mumbai

Title-Versova Boats,size-30''-36'',Acrylic on canvas.2005 Mumbai

                     Title-Yellow Taxi,size-36''-54'',Acrylic on canvas.2006 Mumbai

                               Waters colours on papers on Mumbai life

                                           Article in Mid-day New paper

                                                                                  Gallery pic

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