Julius Mackwan’s residency space, Last Ship, located in Chuim Village, Off Khar Danda, started in June 2011 with sculptor Pravin Waghmare’s project. Last Ship was based on the philosophy of the Julius Mackwan Institute, which was set up in 1993 in Chennai, where the artist and his students lived and worked in a way of life similar to the historical traditions of both the East and the West. “The growing popularity of the institute in Chennai, as well as the growth and energy of the community it formed, helped me to create the connections and engagement as an artist with society that I was seeking. The institute lived out its life and eventually closed down in 2006,” Mackwan shares. “In early 2011, I was looking for a space in Bandra, Mumbai, to sculpt, and the place I took on rent was larger than I needed. Everything fell into place by itself, and it became Last Ship, with my institute students helping out.”
The aim of setting up Last Ship was to offer a space and means for art projects, especially those created by young artists. The space ran successfully for two-and-a-half years, and hosted several artists including Natasha Mendonca, Anjana Kothamachu, Vaibhav Raj Shah, Tanja Verlak, singer/musician Suman Sridhar as well as Paris born Floy Krouchi and Boston-based Nellie Kluz. The artists – only three at a time – were selected on the basis of merit and could work and live at the space usually for a period of up to three months per project. “My goal for myself was to have my institute and community of young creative people around, and within the strange post 2008 crash scenario of the art world, to create a space for artists to have a little fun outside the rigid economic structures of the art industry, like pirates functioning outside the structures of society. Hence, the name Last Ship,” adds Mackwan.
In 2019, Last Ship arrived in Khajuraho. They were in the process of getting their first artist when the Covid19 struck, and the world went into lockdown mode. “Last Ship, now, lies silent with the temples of Khajuraho, waiting for the new life that will begin when the world opens up,” Mackwan says. “What will life be like for all of us? Only time will tell. We will start all over again when it is safe to travel, and then put out our call for artists.”
Text Courtesy : Space118
Image Courtesy : Julius Mackwan