Finally, Mumbai 'Kolis' get a dedicated commemorative sculpture

Finally, Mumbai

Mumbai\'s original inhabitants - the Koli fishing community - got their first dedicated sculpture, which came up near the Mahim fishermen\'s colony here on Monday.

Mumbai: Mumbai's original inhabitants - the Koli fishing community - got their first dedicated sculpture, which came up near the Mahim fishermen's colony here on Monday.

The 11-feet tall, 1,500 kg sculpture of Koli fishermen and their boat - part of the public art initiative of the RPG Foundation with the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) - was inaugurated by senior Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor and CEAT Ltd Managing Director Anant Goenkaa, to coincide with the auspicious 'Naryali Poornima' on Monday.

The Kolis - numbering barely 50,000, as per the figures of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute - have thrived since centuries in their picturesque, traditional coastal villages called Koliwadas, many of which exist even today in different parts of Mumbai against the backdrop of towering skyscrapers.

Their love for the sea is reflected in their costumes, dance forms, homes and cuisine which have survived as Mumbai developed from a cluster of seven isles to a bustling global metropolis.

The crimson-coloured sculpture - a tribute to the joyous and indefatigable spirits of the Kolis - depicts two fishermen carrying oars and preparing to take their boat to the sea for a fishing spell and has been created by eminent Kolkata-based sculptor Debanjan Roy.

It was constructed in Kolkata's Madhyamgram in 140 days by a team of 17 artists, casters, painters and workers and brought to Mumbai recently.

Earlier, the PRG Art Foundation has commissioned and installed several such landmarks typical to Mumbai and its famous inhabitants, its traditions and as a tribute to its contributions to the country.

They include an installation of the world-famous 'Dabbawalas' created by Valay Shende, 'Cameraman' by Suryakant Lokhande as a tribute to the world of cinema which took roots here, Sunil Padwal's 'Tetrapod' as reminder of the reclaimed land of the seven islands which form modern Mumbai, Jaideep Mehrotra's sculpture on 'Sachina� on the master cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, et al.

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