Mumbai

Photo exhibition aims to create awareness of inclusivity

Event features works on unequal urban spaces, accessibility

A photo exhibition to create awareness about sustainable and inclusive urbanism was opened at the Kala Ghoda Art Festival this weekend. The exhibition, which also included a panel discussion and a heritage walk, will be on till February 9.

The exhibition has two sections, the first being ‘Unequal Scenes’ which includes aerial shots of Mumbai that capture the contrast in the cityscape. The photographs were taken by New York-based photographer Johnny Miller, who said the project aligns itself highly with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“Mumbai is a city of contradictions, which is evident from the aerial scenes that exhibit exceedingly sharp contrasts between single-storey slums and developed areas in the city,” Mr. Miller said.

The second section, ‘AccessAbility’, features portraits and personal accounts of Indians and Swedes with disabilities. These include works by Indian and Swedish photographers Sunil Thakkar and Marcus Marcetic, respectively.

Mr. Thakkar said, “We have a habit of judging and discriminating between people based on one flaw or one undermining quality of theirs, while ignoring all the other aspects of a human being. It may take time, but if even one person changes their outlook towards the specially abled into a more positive and accepting one, I as a photographer will have succeeded.”

Anna Lekvall, Consul General of Sweden in Mumbai, expressed her support towards promoting the rights of every human to live with dignity, irrespective of economic background or physical challenges. She said art is different yet universal, whether it be in India or Sweden.

“The purpose of exhibitions is to sensitise people and raise questions about how to include people and how to build societies. I love urban spaces and I have lived in many of them. Sweden works with smart city programmes and we talk on innovative ideas to reform a city. The key is to not stop developing areas, but to develop them with a sustainable mind which welcomes people and nature,” said Ms. Lekvall.

Elsa Marie DSilva, founder and chief executive officer of Red Dot Foundation, said, “We wanted to bring to the collective consciousness of people in showing them how a city can leave people behind, whether it is in terms of economic backgrounds, inequality, even ability. It’s important to experience a city through these lenses.”

She added that a city should be planned in a way that it is easier for everyone to live in them and cited examples of infrastructure and public transport in India, which have room for improvement when it comes to facilities for disabled people.

Smita Gandhi, whose 25-year-old son Sean Gandhi was featured in the AccessAbility series, said, “As a mother, acceptance is very crucial. The society is slightly cruel. When it comes to weddings, he comes with me and enjoys himself, but not everybody present speaks to him. Sean is aware of everything, but what has helped him is his confidence. Including everyone is easier said than done.”

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 11:49:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/photo-exhibition-aims-to-create-awareness-of-inclusivity/article30722315.ece

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