Monsoon Artists in Residence

Over the monsoon months this year, WAA had three young Indian artists take up residency:

Formerly trained in painting, Starlyn D’Souza has experimented with assemblage using organic detritus found along the coastlines of India along with fragments collected during the act of eating to form unique and unfamiliar creatures.
Starlyn also works with intricate drawings and ink spills that revolve around the idea of growth and decay as physical transformation and as the possibility of new life.




Radhika Wader’s work is a visual documentation of Confusion, Curiosities, Questions, Introspection, Solutions about the universe. Why it is as it is? and why we exist at all?
Radhika‘s aim as an artist is to primarily be an inventor of innovative forms-where she is always in search of new routes to express feelings and ideas that reside in all of us. Her process of working is instinctual where she starts drawing with various materials like ink , coal tar mixed with pigments and organic deposits on random sizes and surfaces. The process ends with Patina treatment and with application of Gold and Silver which constantly keeps her rooted with the existential past.
“All works hold a memory which is different and always growing. Sometimes though the works tells me nothing for a long time, but then suddenly one day it tells me something magical.” says Radhika. 

Meghna Patpatia trained in Painting at Sir. J.J School of Art. Her practice currently involves exploring the concept of changing landscapes with linear ink drawings and mixed mediums. Through detailed drawings and layers with references to traditional art historical practices, she creates an atmosphere within her works that reflect her observations. Her interest lies in visually understanding a change in habitat, landscape and the contrast in our existence with other beings on earth. The drawings are visual explorations of the natural realm and man-made establishment coexisting with one another. The conscious observe the artificial and the growth patterns that emerge from the two synergizing. Natural life forms witness the evolution of landscape and the change in their surroundings every day which they adjust to whether they like it or not. The linear forms she explores are creatures/living beings that have a luminescent fragility and the strong mechanical harshness of material that is man-made. Exploring the contradiction of both is what she is attempting to discover in her work.




Their residencies culminated in a open studio which saw artists, art enthusiasts, gallerists and other practitioners attend.



You Can’t Step Into The Same River Twice

In July, we were joined by photographer Hari Katragadda for a two month residency where he continued to explore his project titled ‘You can’t step into the same river twice’ It consists of cyanotype prints made with light impression and mark-making, using site-specific materials along the river in Varanasi and Kanpur. The resulting photographs that bear burns, tears, creases are not mere images, but become an abstract facsimile of the contaminated sites. They reflect the erasures and eruptions that affect the relationship between the river, the landscape and its inhabitants.

Hari also participated in an open studio where he showcased his work to artists, art enthusiasts and other members of the art community.



Hari was recently chosen as part of Fòcas India-Scotland 2017 programme where the project ‘You Can’t Step Into The Same River Twice’, will tour Scotland and India in the coming year along with 9 other photographer’s works. You can read his interview here:


Jeff Gillette

Californian artist, Jeff Gillette joined us in July for a month long residency where he worked on a significant public art project in Mumbai in collaboration with artist Samir Parker who  created “Tarp Project” and is presently conducting other city-wide projects.

In his studio, Jeff  continued creating drawings, paintings and sculptures that deal with impromptu architecture and scenes of blight (i.e.: slums, landfills).





Jeff also conducted public activities and interactions in the city with the children of Dharavi and treated them to a day of arts and crafts called Kid’s Day at Mickey House.

Young Graduate Summer Residency – Sonam Chaturvedi

Sonam Chaturvedi, a recent graduate from Shiv Nadar University, joined us for the Young Graduate Summer Residency Programme in June. Her residency culminated in a open studio that was attended by artists, art enthusiasts and collectors.

We asked her some questions about her practice and her time in Mumbai:

1. What are some of the things that influence your art practice? E.g certain books/writers/music/film/artists?

There are various things I absorb and they settle down unconsciously within me, these can be an art work, a poem, or a line from a book etc. Mostly I still don’t know where they are coming from but a few which I can state here would include Albert Camus’s Myth of Sysiphus, Henri Bergson’s concept of duration, T.S. Eliot’s poem Burnt Norton, Mail art by Ray Johnson, George Carlin’s stand up comedy on time, Jan Svankmajer’s short film Food, and the news scroll on Hindi news channels which I’m unable to follow due to lack of Hindi reading habit, among others. Apart from these external references, the most influential and helpful resource for my practice is solitude, and the words written to reflect those silent moments.

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2. What do you hope to achieve when people look at your work?

My work deals with aspects of human psychology at a functional level, where I try to narrow the viewer’s attention to a minute moment or thought which otherwise one ignores in daily life. In some works, I focus on the experience it generates due to its immersive atmosphere, while some works try to bring people out of their comfort zones and interact with the artwork, which sometimes can even be a disturbing experience. But there are a few works which the viewer can experience as a journey/process to just take away with them, and live with the reminiscence.




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3. Did your time in Mumbai change your practice in a way? How so?

I had almost reached a stagnant point in my art practice after my Masters in 2016. This was my first residency and it gave a start to my practice, which I definitely needed at this stage. I think I became more resolved conceptually as to what line of thought my works draw on and how to follow it, while simultaneously playing and experimenting during the process. So in that way it gave a breathing space for my thoughts to shape and communicate distinctly.


4. If you could have all the resources available to you, what would be your dream project?

There are two projects which I’m longing to do whenever I can get an opportunity and resources. One is a game, for which I’ve already prepared a layout and just needs to be executed with the help of a game programmer, and money.

Another is a project with the ocean, where I want to leave messages in the ocean to communicate with strangers who will find them and respond back to me following the instructions in the message. This entails me to stay off shore for a considerable amount of time to leave many such messages. I think the second one is the most challenging, and thus excites me more.

Underground Bookhouse in transit at WAA

UBiT invite

From June till September 2017, Underground Bookhouse will be in transit at What About Art? The Bookhouse will serve as a community library and reading room, and a space for exhibitions, book-sales, screenings and workshops.

There is a clear gap in the information world. Most libraries and bookstores keep to the middle of the road. It is very hard to find any materials published outside the mainstream.

We need more independent bookspaces as a city, we have none.

We will be the ones to fix this.

In the age of tech, social media, and instant access to anything and everything, bookspaces help slow us down in a good way. You cannot recreate the feeling of holding a physical book in your hands and that’s why this space is important.

As a bookspace, we will specialize in handpicked used books featuring film, philosophy, graphic literature, zines and other independent publications, children’s books, new art and design magazines, and publications by small local presses, and other curios that we find in our continual search for distinctive books.

When you support an independent bookspace, no matter where you are, you are supporting learning, growth, diversity and inclusion.

– Himanshu & Aqui, Bombay Underground, founders of Underground Bookhouse and Dharavi Art Room

Facebook & Instagram: @bombayunderground @dharaviartroom

All money raised will go to keeping the Bookhouse and Dharavi Art Room running. 

Schedule of events: 

Poster-Zine making workshop

July 1

Time: 3 – 5pm

Fee: Rs 750, materials provided

Andy Warhol art workshop

July 15

Time: 4 – 6pm

Fee: Rs 750, materials provided

Andy Warhol documentary screening & discussion, in partnership with Alliance Francaise

July 15

6 – 7pm

Entry free

Book Sale

July 28, 29, 30

Time: 3 – 9pm

Entry free

Henri Matisse art workshop

August 12

Time: 4 – 6pm

Fee: Rs 750, materials provided

Henri Matisse documentary screening & discussion, in partnership with Alliance Francaise

August 12

Time: 6 – 7pm

Entry free

Zine Exhibition

September 1, 2, 3

Time: 3 – 9pm

Entry free

Final Book Sale & RWBC* closing showcase

September 15, 16, 17

Time: 3 – 9pm

Entry free

*Reading Women Book Club:

Reading  Women  Book  Club at Underground Bookhouse in Transit @ WAA is  designed to  bring together  readers to  showcase the  artistic quality and explore and celebrate the contributions of  women writers as well  as to  foster interests  and understanding  of the  accomplishments of women writers. At the end of each month, members will make their own zines as well.

The book club will meet on the 10th, 20th and 30th of each month.

To register for the workshops or the Book Club, please email

Bookhouse timings:

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
3pm – 6pm

Monthly membership tariffs:

Fee – Rs 500

Deposit – Rs 1000

Different Trains 1947


WAA are proud to announce our partnership in this brand new, ambitious project of Arts Council England‘s Reimagine India fund.

Marking 2017 as the 70th anniversary of Indian independence, artistic laboratory Metal – in partnership with Warp Records, Barbican Centre, and Boiler Room, plus Indian partners Wild City and What About Art? – will present Different Trains 1947.

Different Trains 1947 will be a collaboration between music artists ActressJack Barnett (These New Puritans), Indian music producer Sandunes, and filmmakers/artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, who will perform a new audiovisual composition in response to the events of 1947.

Though the performances will comprise entirely new work, as a primary source of inspiration the composers have considered the conceptual and formal framework of  Different Trains (1988) by the genre-defining minimalist composer Steve Reich.

Archival film footage from the period will weave through the performances, along with audio interviews – collected in both India and the UK – from those who lived through this dynamic period of history, as a means of distilling the larger story of Indian independence.

This past February, WAA Residency had the pleasure of hosting and facilitating music artists Actress and Jack Barnett and the Boiler Room team on their initial field research trip to Mumbai. The artists met with various musicians, ranging from traditional schools of Indian classical music to more contemporary Indian music producers and experienced first hand the hustle and bustle of the city through the Mumbai Local (Mumbai’s railway system).

Different Trains 1947 will be premiered in Liverpool as an open air concert at Metal, Edge Hill railway station – the oldest active passenger railway station in the world – on 28th September 2017.

The piece will then be presented at Barbican Hall London (1st October 2017) and Magnetic Fields Festival, within the grounds of  a 17th Century palace on the edge of the desert in Rajasthan, India (December 2017), creating a truly epic international showcase for this new commission, with Boiler Room streaming one of the events as a live global broadcast.

Different Trains 1947 is a core project of Arts Council England‘s Reimagine India fund, with British Council as Digital Partner, plus additional support from Northern Rail and Film Hub North West Central  proud to be a member of the BFI Film Audience Network.

To feel a thread’s emotion

Moumita Das, recipient of this year’s Inlaks Fine Art Award was in residence at WAA for the month of April.

She writes, “I construct abstract forms, ‘fragments’, to highlight the beauty found in the inherent processes of ageing and decay. The core theme of my work is colour, texture and surface, strongly influenced by nature. I like to see it as nature, but always in a different way. Information and data collection are the first stage in my work process. And after that, through permutation & combination I try to put together all the information collected and convert it into a visual format through the use of Fibre art.”

Circles and ovals feature strongly in her work as it is a form that starts and finishes at the same point. From the cycle of the moon to the shape of the egg, these forms are in nature and all around us. IMG_8734

Using her drawings as a starting point, she then experiments with different fibres to construct large scale sculptural forms.

“For me fibre art symbolises what it feels like to feel the thread’s emotion, colour and texture. In my work sometimes, I used readymade materials like metal sheets and metal pipes, juxtaposing them with softer materials like, cotton fabric, wool and jute, in order to express soft and hard feelings of mine through my work.”



Using Mumbai as a muse, Moumita incorporated materials like fishing nets, fish hooks and wire to evoke the city’s sea-faring and harbour history.



Interacting with Hena Kapadia and members of Carpe Arte


Moumita with Fibre and Tapestry artist Monika Correa


Preksha and Moumita’s visit to CONA