Conservation image

On January 20, 1997, the exhibition Picture Mumbai: Landmarks of a New Generation opened in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) at the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India. Picture Mumbai, like Picture Cape Town, is part of a series of GCI projects designed to increase public awareness of landmarks in urban life (see "Face To Face with Landmarks"). Nine young people, ages 12 to 18, took the photographs that, along with their commentary, formed the exhibition. They were guided by the project's field director, photographer David de Souza, and the project leader, Anil Rao, a Mumbai businessman. (See "The Pearl of Great Price: A Conversation with Anil Rao and David De Souza" ) Both men worked closely with Mahasti Afshar of the GCI, who is directing the landmarks projects for the Institute.

The Prince of Wales Museum provided space for the exhibition in the circular, pillared foyer at the museum's main entrance. Designed by architect Ratan Batilboi, the exhibit used modular structures around each pillar to hang the photographs and commentary. Kalpana Desai, director of the museum, welcomed the more than 400 guests who attended the opening. Among the other speakers were Jamshed Jehangir Bhapha, chairman of the museum's board of trustees, Rona Sebastian, associate director for administration of the GCI, and P. C. Alexander, governor of Maharashtra, the state in which Mumbai is located. After Governor Alexander's remarks, Asir Mulla, the project's youngest participant, presented him with a framed picture of a beautiful, abandoned historic building in Mumbai.

Also speaking at the event were several Picture Mumbai participants who described how their involvement in the project changed their vision of themselves and their city.

"The project led me through various lanes and by-lanes of the city previously unknown and unexplored [by me]," Yamini Hule, age 15, told those at the opening. "While in the process of recording the [city], we have come to recognize our potential, an inherent human creativity, which in turn has generated a belief and faith in ourselves."

"The project came as a landmark in my life," said Nivedita Magar, age 18. "I am deeply grateful that an institute like the Getty conceived of a project like this that gave us a chance to redefine ourselves and our contexts."