If you’ve been in Mumbai long enough, chances are you’ve come across Bandra’s art installation titled ‘A Child Gives Birth to a Mother’. It’s one of those unique works of art in the city that has perhaps earned as much praise as ridicule. But one thing is certain, you can’t pass the installation without it attracting your attention.
Inspired by a Marathi song”Bala hou kashi utaraii, tuzhya mule mi zhale aai”, which loosely translates to “My child, how can I repay you, because of you I have become a mother”, written by P Savlaram, the installation was built by hotelier Vithal Kamat in 2012-13 when he was asked to develop Bandra Island Green. The song gives voice to the lived experience of a mother, immensely grateful for her child, and who feels like a goddess at the sound of the word “mother”.
The installation has had its share of controversy. Kamat remembers a strange call he received one morning, summoning him to the office of the then mayor. He was told that the mayor intended to use the space for other purposes and wanted the structure demolished. Kamat says a senior Shiv Sena executive had to step in to ensure the facility was not hit.
In fact, shortly after the construction of the structure, several citizens had written to the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to complain about it.
Kamat, who does not understand the opposition to the artwork, points out that it is entirely made of waste recycled during the construction of the Orchid hotel.
Talk to The Indian Express, he says, “The statue is to remind the public of the importance of recycling for the environment. I’m a real environmentalist, not one who just talks about it.