Mumbai's history has been significantly shaped by cartography, which has tracked the city's expansion and progress over time. From the earliest Portuguese and British maps to the contemporary maps of today, cartographers have contributed to telling the tale of this dynamic city in distinctive and imaginative ways. Today’s maps are more interactive and customizable than ever before.
An exciting panel
discussion as part of Asiatic
Society of Mumbai and Rotary Club of Bombay's second rare map exhibition titled
Mapped: Surveys that left behind a legacy, curated by Past Perfect
Heritage Management will explore maps beyond their conventional use.
Through the intersection of art and cartography, artists and cultural
practitioners will showcase how maps inspire curiosity, capture our
imaginations and emotions, and develop a deeper appreciation for the city that
we call home. The panelists will discuss the creative representation of data,
the function of maps in defining cultural identities, using maps as a tool for
rejuvenating neighborhoods, and creating meaningful and impactful visual
Join us for a
creative mapping session and discover how maps convey ideas, tell tales, and
stimulate fresh perspectives.
Even while studying to be an Industrial Engineer, Mrinal Kapadia always had an interest in History & Archaeology, having nearly completed a Minor degree in Classical European Archaeology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. After a short stint as a Business Management Consultant, I am now involved across different business verticals, including Film Production, and have as of 2020 formalized my interest in history by founding the India Visual Art Archive, a collection of antique art and images that endeavours to link art through history and vice- versa. Through independent research, the archive is currently focused on Company works from the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, with an emphasis on the former Bombay Island.Read more
Zeenat Kulavoor is an artist based in Mumbai. She wears many hats, a Typographer, Graphic Designer, Book designer and a print maker, she loves working with everything that’s tactile. She runs a boutique design studio called Bombay Duck Designs. At Bombay Duck Designs, she has worked on a variety of projects in the areas of branding, art direction, festival decor, packaging, murals and installations, publication design, websites and stage designs for clients ranging from MNCs to cultural institutions to Indie musicians. She has been the driving force of design and development of all self-published books and illustrated zines from Bombay Duck Designs over the past 12 years. Her personal body of work specialises in working with Multilingual Indian scripts. Urdu type, lettering & calligraphy fascinates her the most. Using tongue-in-cheek humour and wit, combined with the use of scale and varied printmaking methods, Zeenat is working towards reinventing possibilities of how the script can be a part of regular day to day life.Read more
Ruchita Madhok is a designer, artist and writer. She fell in love with history and heritage at a young age and it lead her to study Exhibition Design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. After a Masters in Scenography from Central Saint Martins London, she landed her dream job developing exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In 2012 she decided to return to India to establish Kahani Designworks, a design practice focussed on collaborating with the arts, culture and heritage sector in India. Since then Kahani has worked deeply in the areas of communications, experiences and publishing for the arts winning the Kyoorius Black Elephant, The CII Design Excellence Award and India’s Best Design Project Awards among other recognitions. Storycity, the studio’s publishing imprint, leads the way in mapping and interpreting histories of art, design and visual culture in Mumbai.Read more
Ruta Waghmare Baptista heads the Museum’s collections research and management as well as the educational activities including the Docent & Internship programme. She joined the Museum in 2013 and has worked on several historic and contemporary art exhibitions at the Museum. She also manages and strategizes content for audience engagement on the Museum's digital platforms. Ruta has extensively worked on and contributed original research as well as essays to ‘Mumbai – A City Through Objects, 101 Stories from the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum’ co-published with Harper Collins to commemorate the BDL Museum’s 150th anniversary in May 2022. Ruta has a Master’s in Archaeology from Deccan College, Pune, an MA in World Heritage and Cultural Projects for Development, supported by UNESCO at the University of Turin in Italy, and a BA in History from Wilson College, Mumbai. She is the recipient of the 2023-24 Nehru Trust UK Visiting Fellowship award.Read more
Cartography across the years
Cartography is the art and science of graphically representing a geographical area, usually on a flat surface like a map or chart. Maps have evolved from inscriptions on stone tablets, and cave walls to modern-day technology representation on screens. Claudius Ptolemy, founder of ‘Geography’ plotted around 10,000 locations on a two-dimensional map using a new concept of latitudes and longitudes. His compilation Geographia an eight-volume atlas formed an important manual for map making in the early years. Over the years maps underwent several versions of change and development and today we have the world in our pocket in the form of Google Earth, Maps, and Street View, along with another unexplored cartographic world awaiting.
History of Mumbai using maps
Maps have always been used as storytelling tools whether it was by wanderers and traders, or by conquerors for depicting their vanquished lands. A similar story of Mumbai’s land starts from the existence of seven islands of Bombay to the modern-day reclaimed land of Greater Mumbai. The maps found from various different reigns deliver varied stories according to the use of the depicted maps. For example, a map from early Portuguese rule depicts four islands Bombay, Mahim, Parel, and Colaba. While a 1685 map by East India Company official John Thornton supports the claim, that depicts Bombay as one big island including Mahim.
Relation of art with maps
The artistic relation of maps has been there forever. During the Middle Ages, while cartographers were still in the early stages of making accurate maps, they represented an area by blending imagination, artistry, and geography. In fact for some centuries cartographic representations and landscape paintings were indistinguishable. With the introduction of new precise cartographic techniques and instruments cartographers used artistry and creativity less freely and less frequently to produce accurate maps.
However in recent decades with the introduction of technology, the art world has seen an explosion of works applying maps and the mapmaking process. The artists are combining various techniques in maps to enhance the human experience and the way they perceive a particular theme/subject. Artistic representation of maps has also diversified its uses and it continues to grow as a medium of expression and an essential utility product.
Future of maps with technology
Technological advancements have ensured the evolution of cartographic capacities too. Today it is possible to map even the smallest part of the world extending the further scope of mapping the universe. As the days pass cartography incorporates multiple iterations and expands, entering modern times and the future in the form of advanced geospatial technologies. The new cartography tools have elevated the level of mapmaking in terms of details and accuracy. These tools include aerial photography, GIS (Geographic information system), sensors, satellites, and GPS (Global positioning system). This phase of modern cartography is much beyond finding a location and it explores applications like location intelligence, 3D modeling, and real-time map creation.