The Flying Bus takes off in Mumbai

The Flying Bus takes off in Mumbai

Sudarshan Shetty's new art piece doubles as an exhibition space

The Flying BusBus on Red Bull.

Soon to be obsolete, Mumbai's iconic double-decker bus has been reborn with giant silver wings in Indian artist Sudarshan Shetty's latest public art project.

The beloved red buses will be phased out of service soon, but Shetty has elevated the veteran workhorse from its "antiquated fate" by giving one of the buses spectacular steel wings.

Located on the grounds of Maker Maxity in the Bandra Kurla Complex, the bus is stationary but gives the illusion of flight.

Welded to each side of the bus just behind the driver's cab, the wings are made of stainless steel scales that catch the changing light.

The front wheels of the bus are raised above the ground as though the behemoth is about to take off.

“Sometimes when we travel we forget who we are," states a plaque near the Flying Bus. Shetty affirms who he is by drawing inspiration from the city he grew up in -- Mumbai.

He sees the city changing rapidly around him and iconic childhood anchors threatening to disappear each day, such as the red buses.

To create the sculpture, Shetty had to find a manufacturer who could make the red double-decker from scratch. The search finally led him to a workshop in Belgaum.

Before the bus was installed, the ground platform at Maker Maxity had to be reinforced so it could withstand the sculpture's 9,000 kilos.

As the project grew, Shetty started to think of using the space inside the bus. Although the bus is stationary, it could house a transitory audience that moves in and out as passengers used to.

Thus the bus became an exhibition space for showcasing work from the fields of art, architecture, film and photography.

A public gallery has been created within a public artwork and Shetty will invite but not curate the exhibiting artists.

Filmmaker Amar Kanwar is the first artist invited to show his work. Two video works are being shown, one on each deck. Next up is the Bangalore duo Pors & Rao.

Getting there: Open noon-7 p.m., Sudarshan Shetty's "Flying Bus" is located at the Maker Maxity building in Bandra Kurla Complex.

Having studied medicine at Bombay's oldest medical college, Deepika focuses on passions she could not study.
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