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Mumbai architects bronze Daman fisherman

Photos: Pulkit Saigal

As part of an urban revival initiative, the administration of Daman decided to rejuvenate landmark junctions and their surroundings. This was to be done in a phased manner, with the refurbishment of traffic islands being undertaken in the first phase. Zero9, a Mumbai-based design firm, landed the contract to envision four landmarks in Daman and the responsibility of this overhaul was taken up by several corporates as part as their CSR activities.

Creative director of Zero9, Prashant Chauhan, says, “We were awarded four landmarks in Daman – the one at Bhenslore being an especially significant one, as it lies en route to Coastal Highway, Daman, at the intersection of Moti Daman-Udwada and Vapi-Devka roads. Through the traffic island, we sought to pay tribute to the local population, a large part of which belongs to the fishing community.”

Thus, the bronze sculpture of a fisherman, with his net cast in the air, confidently striding ahead, symbolizes a certain pride of work and a bright future. It was not easy to make the life-sized figure either, as it turned out to be a two-tiered process. First a ‘nude’ model was made to get the anatomy perfect, and then it was ‘clothed’, to achieve the fluidity of fabric and other details.

The net, which had to have a certain delicacy and sense of movement, was rendered in brass wire. The end result was a 300 kg, 8.5-foot-tall statue, installed at the junction on January 26th this year. Chauhan says, “The net is the highlight. When it is lit up in the evening, it looks amazing. Nani Daman is more a fisherman’s area and Moti Daman is the administrator’s office. So, we took inspiration from Nani Daman because I’ve seen people giving up the profession and moving to something else. It is seen as work for the lower classes. So why not imbibe pride by highlighting local trade? Eventually, our economy is down to how much we manufacture and do here.”

Another traffic island at Vad Chowki showcases three leaves of the banyan tree. Vad is the local name for banyan and it’s a T-juntion en route to Coastal Highway, Daman, at the intersection of Coastal highway and Khariwad Main Road. Says Chauhan, “We wanted to do an intricate banyan leaf and create an old world charm as this junction has been there for long. We engaged a sculptor who made a mould and then cast it in brass. We decided against using fibre as that has a shorter shelf life. They asked us to make it in brass (look) and iron (strengthening).”