Mumbai Is Getting a Slum Museum

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Mumbai Is Getting a Slum Museum

But is a museum showcasing objects created by slum residents ethical or exploitative?

Mumbai’s gigantic slums are one of the city’s most prominent—and problematic—features. Dharavi, located in the heart of Mumbai, is home to upwards of 1.5 million people, giving it the distinction of being one of the largest slums in all of Asia. It became internationally known after it became the setting for Slumdog Millionaire, the Danny Boyle-directed film that won an Oscar for Best Picture in 2009.

Now, reports the AFP, it will also be home to what organizers are calling the first slum museum. The museum, known as Design Museum Dharavi, is the brainchild of Spanish artist Jorge Mañes Rubio, whose work combines found artifacts and art that “reimagines and revives [forgotten] sites as attention-worthy destinations.” Rubio came up with the idea after he visited Dharavi in 2011.

“I visited Dharavi for three weeks. I met few people and looking at their struggle and difficulties, thought of doing something for them,” Rubio tells Anagha Sawant of I am IN.

The museum itself will be a small, flexible mobile structure, which will make it easy for it to be pulled through the slum’s streets on a bike or small vehicle. It will open for two months starting in February at different locations throughout Dharavi. “Despite the tough conditions [the people of Dharavi] live in, they are capable of creating, designing, manufacturing and commercializing all kinds of goods,” write the museum’s founders on their website. “We believe that the objects made in Dharavi could be as valuable as those collected by design museums.” […]