Using art to connect with Dharavi | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Using art to connect with Dharavi

Last November, Brooklyn-based videographer, Casey Nolan, 32, hadn’t imagined “feeling at home” in the slums of Dharavi.

mumbai Updated: Jan 29, 2011 00:26 IST
Reetika Subramanian

Last November, Brooklyn-based videographer, Casey Nolan, 32, hadn’t imagined “feeling at home” in the slums of Dharavi.

The muck, the sewage and rampant crimes in “Asia’s most notorious slum”, were the clichés that cluttered Nolan’s mind.

But three months later, Nolan has not only “settled down”; but along with his associates from the intercultural art initiative ‘Artefacting Mumbai’, has framed every memory of his stay, which will be exhibited at the ’13th Compound Multi-Media Arts Exhibition’ on Saturday, which is also ‘No TV Day’.

The Hindustan Times in its No TV Day series had highlighted the industrialised area, including the 13th Compound, the city’s largest recycling unit.

This exhibition will display the works of Nolan, Alex White Mazzarella, 31 (painter), Arne de Knegt, 30 (photographer), Nishant Nayak, 28 (filmmaker), and Parasher Baruah, 29 (cinematographer).

It includes some wax installations created from the excess materials from installation artist Anish Kapoor’s recently concluded exhibition at Mehboob Studio.

“Meters of flex that welcomed visitors at Mehboob Studio will now welcome viewers again, but this time as the canvas for mural sized paintings that give recognition to this recycling unit in Dharavi,” said Nolan, adding that Kapoor will be gracing the exhibition on Saturday.

“Kapoor has also promised to leave behind a personally autographed souvenir for us to take back home,” said Mazzarella, who will be carrying back all the artworks to Portland, where money will be raised for human development.

“Our interest in Dharavi was sparked in 2008 when searching for cities and communities that develop from the bottom-up,” said Mazzarella, who is part of the initiative working in association with ACORN India’s Dharavi Project.

“It is with courage, multiculturalism and global insight in hand, that we decided to use art to intimately connect audiences with the issues and context of Dharavi through exploring its people of extreme humanity,” he said.

“We are hoping that the exhibition will bring to the surface the collision of individualist ideals of the West with the collective living of the slum.”

He added that they hoped the paintings, photographs and sound installations would transform and redirect Dharavi’s industrial and communal intensity into Mumbai’s newest art district.

The 13th Compound Exhibition will be held on Saturday from 2pm to 8pm. Walking tours begin at Mahim Junction (E) station. For details, visit or contact Alex White Mazzarella on 9321661843