by Sunena V MajuJan 16, 2023
The Lunar Dome, conceptualised by Sideways Consulting and Asian Paints and created by artists from St+Art India, was recently unveiled atop the Nehru Planetarium in Mumbai, India.
An artistic rendition of earth’s permanent natural satellite, the dome depicts the southern hemisphere of the moon in all its mighty glory. It commemorates the tremendous feats accomplished by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), especially its recent attempt to land on the moon’s south pole, in an unprecedented and maiden venture.
‘Art for all’ is the motto that St+Art is based on, a Delhi-based foundation that focuses on art being made accessible to anyone and everyone. It has been instrumental in bringing art to a wider audience in India and transforming India’s urbanscape by embedding art in public spaces across metropolitan cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad and more.
Testimony to the Chandrayaan missions and the scientists at ISRO, the Lunar Dome is one of the biggest moon installations to be created in India, with a diameter of 25.6 metres. A viewing gallery has also been set up at the planetarium for an unforgettable experience, open from 11 am to 9:30 pm daily. The best part? The entry is free!
Asian Paints called the Lunar Dome a tribute to ISRO for its missions and achievements. Amit Syngle, COO, Asian Paints Ltd. said, “We are thrilled to partner with Sideways & St+art once again on this special project at Nehru Planetarium, Mumbai. It is our tribute to the brilliant scientists and researchers at ISRO on the historic Chandrayaan-2 mission. It was a significant milestone in India’s space journey and we are very proud of them. With the creation of this Lunar Dome, we hope to give visitors a small experience of the moon in all its glory. We at Asian Paints wish ISRO many successful missions in the future, to the moon and beyond.”
The Nehru Planetarium has breathtaking installations on view, and boasts of sparking people’s interest in space and science for decades. Making it the perfect site to exhibit earth’s closest celestial neighbour, the artists have attempted to capture the moon’s beauty and grandeur in detail, and be as accurate as possible in representing its south pole.
One of the artists who worked on this installation is Gulammahmad Bukhari, known by the name Sharad, with an experience of over four decades. A master at several mediums like canvas oil painting, wall painting, sketching, abstract painting and panoramic painting, he has worked on over 500 walls in India, and created about 1000 canvases, displaying his impressive forte as an artist.
Hanif Kureshi, an artist and the Creative Director of St+art India Foundation, was also all praise for him. “Painter Sharad is one of the very finest spray painters from Rajkot. We invited him to work on this structure as he specialises in creating planets and galaxies. The biggest challenge of the project was to paint a moon on such a space and scale. We had to install over 2500 bamboos to make the scaffolding to reach the top. The rain also played a huge part in this challenge.”
Mumbai-based Sideways Consulting that conceived the project, took their eternal fascination with the moon to another level with this installation. Abhijit Avasthi, Founder, Sideways said, “ISRO, with its ingenious approach, has always taken on complex and challenging missions, even with limited resources. They have been a huge inspiration to all of us. So much so that at Sideways, we have dedicated a room in our office to them. The Lunar Dome is a small gesture from our side, to thank them for the pride they bring to each and every Indian. It was rather fulfilling to collaborate with Asian Paints and St+art India who shared the same enthusiasm for the initiative.”
The Lunar Dome celebrates India’s space voyages and its consistent efforts in mapping the moon with its notable missions, Chandrayaan-1 (2008) and Chandrayaan-2 (2019). The first mission focused on the chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic surveying of the moon, and the artificial satellite made more than 3400 orbits around the natural one. The second mission was an attempt to explore the unmapped, southern region of the moon, its exosphere, surface and sub surface, all in a single venture.