The Rampart Gallery & Art Entrance Gallery

The Bodyguard Lane Album

In February 2016, as part of a study on homelessness in urban India, Mumbai-based collective BIND was commissioned to take a series of portraits of people living on a pavement close to Mumbai Central Railway Station. The ‘homeless’ families they encountered were settled on one the side of a street commonly known as Bodyguard Lane. Many of them had been living there for generations.

Interested in the history of their predicament, BIND asked to look at their personal photographs and soon discovered that these memories – sometimes kept in a plastic bag, sometimes inside a blouse – were also in a state of great precariousness, threatened by the inexorable cycle of monsoons and evictions.

These photographs appeared of value, not only to the families that were pictured in them, , but also to the collective memory of the city – a city in which they might not be official inhabitants, but whose dynamic identity they are nevertheless a part of. BIND offered to digitise the photographs for the families as a reliable way to preserve them. In exchange, BIND was granted permission to share their stories with the city.

This exhibition shows the outcome of this engagement culminates: a photo album especially crafted for, and in conversation with, the people of Bodyguard Lane. The album stands as a testimony, a tribute, to these families and to the anonymous studios and itinerant photographers who captured their memories.

Presented by BIND thanks to the support of Alliance Française de Bombay, French Embassy in India, Institut Francais and the Kala Ghoda Association, with the help of Pehchan.

On view at two locations:

The Rampart Gallery
Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort
Directions: In front of Jehangir Art Gallery
022 2493 8752
Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Art Entrance Gallery
Army Navy Building Foyer, 148 M. G. Road, Kala Ghoda,
Landmark: Next to Westside
Open daily, 24 hours