Mumbai North: A view of Mumbai’s Suburbs from the skies.
Following the success of his two previous exhibitions, ‘Mumbai Articles’ (2014) and ‘Madras Transit’ (Aug 2015), architect Robert D. Stephens is all set to unveil his newest exhibit, Mumbai North. With this exhibit, Stephens shows the lesser appreciated charm of the suburban geography.
Robert, a self-proclaimed towny expressed his fascination with South Mumbai with his first exhibit, ‘Mumbai Articles’ in 2014. The show was generally well-received, but there was one consistent feedback. Most viewers felt that this was an incomplete representation of the city as the suburbs remained undocumented. Taking that feedback seriously, Stephens is back with Black-and-White photographs of the suburbs taken at 15,000ft above sea level between December 2014 and November 2015. Each image will be accompanied by a record of air pollution levels on the corresponding day, as measured by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.
Much like Madras Transit, Mumbai North will also feature an installation of antiquarian books related to Mumbai, dating back to the late 1800s. All books and quotes featured in the exhibition were discovered on the footpath bookstalls of Flora Fountain over the past five years. The flâneur in Stephens spent many a weekends roaming the streets and taking in the city’s architecture, history and the umpteen bookstalls on the footpaths around Flora Fountain fulfilled his other passion, that of collecting old books. These books when paired with the photographs give the exhibit an extra dimension, the viewers a little more understanding about the history and heritage of their city.
His aerial photography lends the viewers a unique perspective of the city; an alternate lens to the urban geography, landscape and sprawl of the suburbs. They will give us a better understanding about the intersections between history, culture and development. This one-of-a-kind exhibition opened at the Artisans’ Gallery on the 8 January 2016.
Robert D. Stephens, who is a Principal at RMA Architects, first visited India in 2006. He fell in love with the city and decided to move here in 2007 and has been here ever since. We wish him good luck for his upcoming show and hope to see many more cities from up above. Follow him on Facebook here.