UMESH MANGIPUDI
Reclaimed Playground
2014
Living in apartments, finding space for creative pursuits is a problem. The alternative is to look towards urban public spaces which are limited.
Parsik Hill, located in Navi Mumbai is a quiet, green, pollution-less area. The residential area is an array of unfinished and unoccupied buildings. Some of these buildings are inhabited by daily wage people who are also caretakers of the property.
One such caretaker Jagdish, offered a large space in one of the buildings to be used as a studio. The space was a large room with high ceilings, paint peeling off the walls and a large hole on one side. The studio walls offered support to paint on and soon I started painting the walls. Other artists and friends joined in and gradually the space became a meeting-place for painters, musicians and conversationalists. Is it a personal space or a communal space?
Problems
  - Late night sessions attracts police.
  - The caretaker community dislikes attraction from police since many are squatting.
  - Police trace down the location and visit once for general enquiry. They ask "Where are the paintings?”.
  - Social problems with women visiting the space.
Closure
  - The space is abandoned once again.
  - Jagdish's kids Raja and Pankaj take over the place and turn it into their playground.