Tabiyat: Medicine and Healing in India 

The Art X Company was commissioned to deliver a turnkey package for a Live Events programme for the Tabiyat: Medicine and Healing in India. The exhibition examined the history and contemporary practice of sustaining human health in one of the world’s great civilisations. From 12 January 2016 to  28 March 2016, CSMVS, Mumbai, hosted dazzling antiquities and contemporary material culture assembled by Wellcome Collection, one of London’s most exciting new cultural spaces.

 

The Live Events programme, curated and produced by The Art X Company, comprised ten events (performances, demonstrations and guided walks) that foregrounded existing health and medicine practices, and were integrally connected with the exhibition on display. The events were purported to be open to the general public, free and accessible, and presented a mix of various genres and styles.

For more details, visit tabiyat.org

Bandra and the Bombay Plague of 1896 – a walking tour | 22 November 2015

Held in collaboration with the Celebate Bandra arts festival, this guided walk visited sites in Bandra relating to the outbreak of Plague in Bombay in 1896. Shriti Tyagi led the two-hour walks across plague crosses that dot the neighbourhood, churches and former farms that were turned to relief camps.

Photography by Kiran Bhasin

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Inauguration | 11 January 2016

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Managing and executing the inauguration of the Tabiyat exhibition in Mumbai for select invitees was also a part of Art X's responsibilities. Aspects included the coordination and management of guest lists of the stakeholders – Wellcome Trust team in London, Tabiyat team, CSMVS Museum and the British Council in Mumbai, development of the event programme, coordination on the design and postage of the physical and digital invites, engaging artists and vendors for performances and setup, and production of the inaugural event along with the reception thereafter.

Photography by Kiran Bhasin

Kohl Demonstration | 24 January 2016

This event brought a team from the 200-year-old Datu Manji Padamshi Surmawala, a long-established kohl manufacturer, to the CSMVS Museum lawns. A never-seen-before demonstration of how to make kohl, was followed by a panel discussion on the concerns surrounding the manufacture and sale of this Ayurvedic and Unani product with renowned Ayurvedic doctor, Dr Narendra Bhatt and Unani doctor Dr Mohammed Khan Quasir, led by journalist-turned-lawyer Anshika Misra.

Photography by Shilpa Bain

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In Stitches | 12 February 2016

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Stand-up comics and theatre artists diagnosed India’s healthcare problems in a one-hour performance held in collaboration with the famous KGA Festival. A stand-up routine by Anuvab Pal was followed by a 20-minute solo piece on an NRI grandmother’s recipes originally written and performed for Tabiyat by  Patchworks Ensemble.

The artists engaged and created the content exclusively for this show. A collaboration with the KGAF brought Tabiyat out of the museum and contextualised the subject for a different audience.

Photography by Shilpa Bain 

Healing Dance | 14 February 2016

The idea of a dancing or performative body as a healthy body was explored in this performance. A spoken word performance Joint Words by poet Preeti Vangani was followed by a 30-minute Kathak performance by Debosmita Roy Chowdhury from Kolkata, who dances with a prosthetic. The performance was held at the Cross Maidan as part of the KGAF.

The key concern was to avoid the ‘gaze’ on the idea of dancing with a prosthetic and instead draw the connection between performance and health. This event questioned the notion of "wellness" that is associated with the idea of a 'normalised' body of the mainstream.

Photography by Shilpa Bain 

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Tea Tasting Demonstration | 20 February 2016

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After giving us a taster at the inauguration, Snigdha Manchanda, Tea Sommelier returned to conduct an afternoon long tea tasting demonstration on the lawns of the Museum. She presented six different types of tea – Kashmiri Kahwa, Sulemani Chai, Ayurvedic Kadha, Butter Tea, Masala Chai and a Plague Tea, that was used during the outbreak of the Bombay Plague in 1896. Exploring the rich culture of Indian tea consumption, she outlined the various ingredients and their corresponding health benefits.

Photography by Shilpa Bain 

Singing and Indian Medicine | 28 February 2016

This evening performance brought two vocalist and four instrumentalists together on stage with a Unani and Ayurveda practitioner to connect classical music and Indian medicine. Neela Bhagwat and Amarendra Dhaneshwar demonstrated in performance the demands placed on the voice in Hindustani Classical music, and were supported by the doctors whose insights on how these medicine systems view the throat and its healing were interspersed within.

Photography by Kiran Bhasin

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Draupadi Kuravanchi | 6 March 2016

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This traditional Kattaikuttu folk dance-drama performance brought six artists from rural Tamil Nadu to present their interpretation of a popular story from within the Indian epic Mahabharata. The 45-minute performance was about Draupadi’s quest as she takes the form of a Kuratti, a Kaurava famous for his fortune telling, knowledge of indigenous medicine and traditional tattoos. Prior to the performance, the audience could catch a live demo of the two-hour make-up process at the CSMVS Museum.

Photography by Kiran Bhasin

Colaba and the Bombay Plague | 13 March 2016

Mirroring the Bandra plague walk held in November, this walk too explored and situated the history of the Bombay Plague of 1896, however, this time in the South Mumbai neighbourhood of Colaba. Shriti Tyagi brought in famous landmarks and tales of bravery and politics that were all shaped by the outbreak. 

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Mallakhamb performance | 20 March 2016

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Mallakhamb is a martial art tradition of Maharashtra, where gymnasts perform feats around a rope or a vertical wooden pole. This event featured 25 artists (whose ages ranged 8 -38 years old) of Shree Samantha Vyayam Mandir, a not-for-profit Mallakhamb training institute in Mumbai, who performed routines from the martial art tradition.

Photography Kiran Bhasin

© 2016 Designed by Shambhavi Bhat