If you missed my benefit exhibit with the Coalition for Asian-American Children & Families this weekend, here it is. Each limited edition 16x24 photograph is matted, framed, and signed. $250 each. 50% of all proceeds will go to support CACF and their mission. The other 50% will support Justice Ventures International and their work in India.
The Dharavi slum of Mumbai, India, has an estimated 1.1 million people living within its 0.67 square mile territory. Inhabitants share one toilet per 1,440 persons, and 300 square feet to share with 15 others. This is Asia’s largest slum, an area that has been disputed between architects, developers, investors, and inhabitants in recent times as the city of Mumbai plans to divide and conquer.
According to the plan, only a portion of the 57,000 families that live in Dharavi will be rehabilitated to multi-storied tenements, because a census has never been accurately conducted. The plan, said residents, seems to favor developers over residents, several of whom have owned generations of thriving enterprises from the slum.
The photography journals the advent of change prior to the eventual displacement of these Dharavi citizens and calls to attention both economic and humanitarian concerns. The heroics of architecture and urbanism are self-defeating if the milieu of existing social conditions is not fully researched. In stark contrast to the West’s view of India’s slums, many have become flourishing epicenters of business and culture, despite the apparent need for housing and sanitation reform. In Dharavi’s case, Mumbai’s economy is hugely driven by the production market of these slums, as much as 51% in 2007. How India handles Dharavi is crucial in propagating the vitality of its diverse cities, and ultimately reveals their approach on social responsibility.
This series of photographs was taken while on assignment with Justice Ventures International, a non-profit corporation whose mission is to secure freedom, justice, and restoration for the poor and oppressed by strengthening humanitarian and economic ventures that work to protect human rights and to promote development from within target communities. JVI is working in Dharavi to strengthen and support such existing organizations by mobilizing and delivering professional services, financial resources and research.