The Dharavi Art Room
The Dharavi Art Room has been almost established as its own brand. Every child in the by us called “papad area” (as most women living in this area produce the famous crispy papads) know the colourful room above a resident’s house which is run by Bombay Underground.
During the school vacation in April and May we have been running the art classes every day, conducting activities such as drawing and painting on canvas, wall painting, making crafts out of old plastic bottles, origami folding etc. And of course we continually do our photography workshops.
In fact the photos shot in the last year have been so amazing that we decided to organise a second exhibition at the False Ceiling Gallery in Bandra. “Mumbai 17 – A Dharavi Art Room Exhibition”aimed to break down the negative image people have of slum communities (heard that before somewhere before didn’t you?) by showcasing the optimistic point of view of the kids in Dharavi. The photo selection was colourful, happy and surprisingly professional (a surprise for the visitor, not for us of course).
Like last year we also invited the students of the art program to Bandra to see their art hanging in the unfamiliar environment of the gallery. The kids had such a great Sunday afternoon playing housey-housey (Indian bingo) and going on Bandra neighbourhood photo walks.
We also invited supporters and volunteers to join the photo walks. One of them was the expat blogger Bombay Jules who had such a great experience that she shared it with her fans on her blog and requesting them to donate their old cameras. She collected nine cameras within a few weeks.
We also got very good press coverage this time. Besides others Mumbai Mirror, Midday, Afternoon and Indian express covered our exhibition as well as the Dharavi Art Room story in their papers. End of May we also exhibited a smaller selection of photos at the Breakfast Club Bandra.
All in all we were so happy with the program development in May that we continued with the daily classes in June. Due to the rains and the start of the school year less kids joined during the week so from July onwards we will only have whole-day programs on Saturdays and Sundays. We are very happy that a lot of volunteers recently supported the activities and bring new fresh ideas into the program.
Find photos of the art room activities on our Dharavi Art Room facebook page and the Dharavi Art Room Blog.