On Saturday January 29th "Artefacting Mumbai" turned Dharavi's 13th Compound into an OPEN HOUSE. Over 300 people from all walks of life in Mumbai and over the world for that matter, descended upon a multi-media arts exhibition. Our phones were ringing non-stop as we directed eager to be attendees to the pick up station, where guides whisked the public into the medina of Dharavi, and into the exhibition. "Art Exhibition" banners were draped from the footbridge... maps were distributed, and hundreds of outsiders entered Dharavi for the first time.
Visitors bounced between 16 different installations, galleries, and theaters that were all nestled into Dharavi's public spaces, recycling sheds, and depots. Spectators found themselves equally thrilled and surprised by the people and action around them, and many were embarrassed for only now entering Dharavi for their first time. The locals' courtesy was unexpected to many of the art goers, and similarly the locals were ok with being the host to an invasion of sorts; even if it slowed down their pace of work.
In the end, the turnout and reaction was nothing short of spectacular. And the following day messages and voices began flooding in expressions desire to see the exhibition. SOOOOO .... onto the more well-to-do Colaba district of Mumbai we go, to bring Artefacting Mumbai to the Project 88 Gallery. Ahead is more work and hopefully more success in dispelling notions of fear in exchange for curiosity and knowledge.