Immersion: Artefacting Into Dharavi – The Engine That Runs Mumbai
January 4 - March 23, 2012
The Multicultural Arts Center will be hosting a new exhibition in the Upper Gallery beginning Wednesday, January 4, 2012 and running through Friday, March 23, 2012. Immersion: Artefacting into Dharavi – The Engine That Runs Mumbai is a multimedia project organized
by artist Alex White.
In November of 2010, artist & urbanist Alex White Mazzarella led a team of artists and documentarians into Dharavi, Mumbai, known widely as Asia’s largest slum for a three-month immersion. Their project, Artefacting Mumbai, was aimed at engaging, learning from and ultimately documenting the untold wealth of this place and people, before Dharavi’s displacement by contemporary urbanization.
Dharavi’s Sanaullah Compound, a bustling recycling area and community of diverse origins and religion, was made the center of the project. Initial doubts and “slum” fears receded as friendships and relationships were formed, and as adaptation led them to experience-ing Dharavi as a buzzing beehive of humanity. The team created and recorded from this experience, living perspectives as they were engendered, and drawing closer to their new neighbors by leading art classes, creating public art and sipping chai. Social wealth and collective living were found to be especially intriguing and starkly contrasted the west’s luxury of individualism . This contrast inspired the creation of the artefacts on display in this exhibition. Each work was created on site in Dharavi.
Presented are Alex White Mazzarella’s mixed-media paintings that manifest the experience of plunging past hard edges, cacophonic noise, and frenetic energy, and into Dharavi’s humanity. Local life and joy emerge from the painted insides of barrels — an iconic and widespread object in Dharavi’s serpentine streetscape. “Mechanics” is a stacking of these barrels, and a tribute to the social mechanics, collectivity and co-habitation that provides the undercurrent of energy in Dharavi.
A series of photographs by Arne de Knegt confronts the gap between perception and reality. The series “Throwing into the Corner” juxtaposes scenes associated with aggression or violence with a more innocent reality; the playful throwing of red wax onto corrugated metal. This juxtaposition echoes the experience of being in Dharavi —a place associated with danger— yet the reality is that it exists mostly as a place of peace.
Collaborative artists Casey Nolan, Iosu Lopez, Nishant Nayak and Parasher Baruah present short videos about Dharavi and the public art components of Artefacting Into Dharavi.
Artefacting has since engaged communities in Rome, Oslo, Detroit and New York City in public projects aimed at using art to revitalize marginalized communities and catalyze change.
Gallery Reception: Thursday, January 5, 2012, from 6-9PM. There will be a film showing and Q+A beginning at 7PM. (Free, open to the public)