Since 2008, half the world’s population live in urban areas. About one third of them live in slums with limited access to clean water, inadequate and often non-existent toilets in cramped, often temporary shelter and with the threat of eviction ever looming.
By joining together and setting up grassroots organisations, residents can start acting for much needed change in their settlements. To achieve their priorities, they collaborate with the local government and show that working together is the basis of successful citywide development. More informed, effective and financially viable plans can be created in partnerships and with a true understanding of resident’s needs.
This collection of wall art was inspired by the Dharavi slum in Mumbai, India, where around half a million people live in an area covering little over one square mile. I visited Dharavi with a local charity (SPARC) that has been working with the settlement’s community based organisations for over 20 years, we spoke to the residents about their lives and their needs/ hopes for the area’s redevelopment. The pieces in this collection are inspired by these conversations.
Reclaimed wood: In keeping with the fact that nothing is wasted in a slum, this represents slum roofs − the beauty of chaos.Newspaper: Many of the youth are today studying at university and have great hopes for their future. White: Representing cleanliness, the first stages of making surgical threads for Johnson and Johnson start here. Gold leaf: The annual turnover of Dharavi is thought to be in excess of US$ 650 million. Playing children (silver/moonstone): Hopes for the future were based primarily around keeping the family together. Safe and suitable play areas for the children was also high on their list.
10% of sales from the art is donated to Muungano Support Trust, a community organisation in Kenya to support their work in a childcare centre in the Mathare slum
Other links that you may find of interest:
- Slum/ Shack Dwellers International (SDI)
- Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR)
- Dialogue on Shelter, Zimbabwe
- Environment and Urbanization journal