Confluence captures Mumbai’s multifaceted relationship with water from the Mithi River to the shores of the Arabian Sea, from wells and tanks governed by cultural practices to the fishing communities of Mumbai struggling to retain their livelihoods, from the tanker economy servicing high-rise apartments to the everyday water vulnerabilities faced by informal settlements dotting the cityscape. In a year (2020) marked by a global pandemic, more than 30 professionals - artists, conservation architects, photographers, designers, social scientists and urban planners - came together to launch the Mumbai Water Narratives. They documented Mumbai’s water journey from heritage to public health, through storytelling, new media design, digital technology and the arts, seeking to engage our youth as future water keepers. Confluence is the first virtual exhibition by the Mumbai Water Narratives, supported by the Living Waters Museum.
Reflections on Mumbai’s Water Heritage
From Bombay to Mumbai, the discourse of water in the city has shifted from water as a resource, water as philanthropy (1800s), water as a civic property (1845 onwards), water as a commodity, to water as a right for citizens (since 2014). With increasing climate risks, the city has seen frequent extreme events from urban floods ravaging homes or destroying livelihoods every monsoon to threats of water cuts and conflicts. Water therefore, has a multifaceted relationship with Mumbai. However, this rich tapestry of our liquid heritage and its intersection with the everyday lives of citizens and their material reality is often unknown to our children, the ‘water-keepers’ of the future.
About "Mumbai Water Narratives"
Mumbai Water Narratives was conceptualised in June 2020 by the Living Waters Museum to document Mumbai’s water wisdom and engage young stakeholders through the power of storytelling, digital technology and new media. As a part of the long term goals of Mumbai Water Narratives, we hope to collaborate with institutional and educational partners, public and private sector initiatives and non governmental groups
towards furthering our shared goals of securing a safe and just water future. Since the project was initiated a growing network of partners have collaborated to co-explore Mumbai’s water stories and the city’s relationship with people and practices over time.
Confluence is designed as six thematic galleries connected to water: Built heritage, Culture and Faith, Livelihoods, Saline Waters, Access to Water and Public Health. The exhibition seeks to begin a conversation on our shared waters, asking each of us to reflect on our actions amidst growing structural inequality. In what small way can we each contribute to the water wisdom we have inherited so that we can ensure a sustainable and just water future for our children?
For more information go to : confluence.livingwatersmuseum.org
Vote of thanks
We would like to acknowledge the commitment and passion of all our content partners and contributors, the local communities and artists they have interacted with throughout the city and the Metropolitan Mumbai Region, and our design and development team for meeting our tight deadlines effectively. While we have tried to include and imbibe as many perspectives within our narratives, Confluence is only the first step towards facilitating citizens dialogue to address issues of access, equity and the impacts of climate change on Mumbai’s coastline. We hope to build a larger repository of narratives through your help and support.
SARA AHMED, MINAZ ANSARI, IPSHITA KARMAKAR
Core curatorial team of Mumbai Water Narratives