Dharavi, notoriously known as one of the world’s largest slums, sprawls across more than 500 acres of Mumbai and is home to more than a million people. Despite the area’s squalid and destitute reputation, however, the slum also happens to be India’s recycling epicenter—and it is now poised to become a hotbed of creativity.
The Society for Nutrition, Education, and Health Action (SNEHA), a Mumbai-based NGO that works to improve the health and living conditions of Dharavi, recognized the artistic bent of its residents and came up with the Dharavi Biennale, a two-year initiative that blends art and health to spotlight conversations about social issues within the community. The projects—called artboxes—brought artists from around the world to the slum. Once there, they trained and mentored novice participants in various skills such as photography, block printing, and illustration. A health expert then led interactive sessions discussing the types of physical, psychological, or emotional issues that residents might face in the slum. Two years and 22 artboxes later, Dharavi Biennale culminated with the Alley Galli Biennale, currently running at three locations in Dharavi through March 7.
Click through to see a few of the most popular exhibits at the event.