Glimpses of how artists visualise megacities, urban centres with a population of more than 10 million, in their respective countries are on display at the Megacities Asia exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. The creations of 11 Asian artists have been displayed throughout the museum's galleries and entryway, making it probably the biggest contemporary exhibition, in terms of area of display, in the history of the museum.
The exhibition opens on 3 April and continues through 17 July, The Wall Street Journal reported, adding that another display titled London and Edo: Cities On The Rise will be held alongside the megacities exhibition, featuring 18th- and 19th-century prints of London and the then Tokyo.
Al Miner, co-curator of the museum, said the exhibits on megacities are both "critical" and "celebratory" at the same time. The Asian continent has a huge number of densely populated cities like Beijing, Delhi and Seoul, which made it the preferred topic for the exhibition, Miner explained. All the 11 artists were born in megacities and still reside in one.
Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist has created a giant snake using 350 identical black, white and green school bags to commemorate the demise of around 5,000 Chinese school children in an earthquake in 2008. The artwork represents the consequences of rapid construction that ignores the quality of the structure. Another creation by Weiwei titled Forever is an abstract design made by weaving together 64 real bicycles, highlighting the crowded streets of Beijing.
Song Dong, another Chinese artist who lives in Beijing with his wife and daughter, has created a sculpture resembling a colourful and oversized two-level birdhouse. Titled Wisdom Of The Poor: Living With Pigeons, the artwork highlights the survival of people with limited means in big cities.
To represent hasty and congested constructions, common to many big cities in India, artist Hema Upadhyay created a miniroom, whose walls are crowded with miniature buildings made of scrap metal and plastic. She titled her creation 8' x 12' to symbolise the space crunch in most big cities.
Asim Waqif, a 37-year-old resident of the Indian capital, Delhi, also focused his artwork on the rapid rate of construction in Indian cities. However, his bamboo structure signals the appalling gap in the living conditions of the rich and the old. The work resembles the temporary dwellings created for the poor workers at construction sites in Delhi and across Indian cities. While the labourers build luxurious homes for the rich, they continue to live in shabby enclosures.