A Second Life

It was while American artist Alex Mazzarella was researching city planning in Hong Kong and looking for communities that develop themselves.

Written by Somya Lakhani | Published:January 30, 2011 12:36 am

Leftovers from Anish Kapoor’s exhibition find place in a multi-arts exhibition on Dharavi

It was while American artist Alex Mazzarella was researching city planning in Hong Kong and looking for communities that develop themselves,that he heard of Mumbai’s infamous slum settlement,Dharavi. After working out the logistics for a year along with American photographer,Casey Nolan and Holland-based photographer Arne De Kgneg,Mazzarella founded ‘Artefacting Mumbai’,an intercultural art initiative.

After painting,clicking and taping Dharavi’s true colours over a period of three months,the three artists have finally decided to show their multi-media exhibition which started on Saturday at Dharavi’s 13th Compound. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the exhibition is that it manages to make use of discarded parts from London-based artist Anish Kapoor’s recent exhibition in the city. Nolan explains,“We were taking a walk through Dharavi when we noticed canisters with red wax and realised they were from Kapoor’s show. We got in touch with him and showed him photos of Dharavi we’d taken. He became keen to contribute to the show.”

The exhibition has an extensive layout. “We are taking everyone on a tour of Dharavi — there will be 14 spots where we have put up murals,paintings,photo and video installations that are a reflection of Dharavi and its people,” said 32-year-old Nolan. The exhibition,a free event for the public,is being supported by ACORN India’s Dharavi Project.

In the three months that the trio has been in India,they’ve come to have a deep appreciation and concern for the settlement that they have so lovingly captured in their work. “Dharavi is the ‘face’ of all slums and because of Slumdog Millionaire,it has gained a lot of media attention. However,it is getting increasingly isolated from the very city that it is in the heart of. Through this art initiative we are attempting to depict its humanity. We’re trying to present a different view of Dharavi—the people here are as hard-working and as honest as those from the rest of Mumbai,” concludes Nolan.

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