Among the most anticipated arts and culture festivals in the city, the 21st edition of Kala Ghoda Arts Festival commenced on the first of the month (February)which is said to be the largest street festival of its kind in the country itself. Few of our volunteers got a chance to be a part of it, as Event Ambassadors of a prominent photo-exhibition organized by Red Dot Foundation, partnering with the General Consulate of Sweden.
As the theme of this photo-exhibition was “Sustainable and Inclusive Urbanism”, it appealed to the two important Social Inequalities found in an urban city, the very tangible result of socio-economic disparities which is ‘Unequal scenes’ and ‘Accessibility’. Their task was to interact with local visitors, to find out their viewpoints and collect effective comments from them on the exhibits showcased. It was wonderful to see people consciously involved and interested to know more about what is currently going on in their own city and also increasing their awareness on it. Few of the major highlights of the event were the portraits clicked by amazing photographers, Johhny Miller, Marcus Marcetic and Sunil Thakkar. After viewing the portraits most people approached the volunteers for queries.
Yogesh, one of the Event Ambassadors, felt honored to be a part of this initiative, supporting and sharing the information of various inspiring ‘Differently-Abled’ persons who fought the toughest fights of their lives and yet who are still considered different from us in society. They received a lot of comments and feedback on the setbacks of the government and Municipal Corporations for disregarding the situation of the Dharavi slums (showcased as Unequal scenes). The objective of this event was not just to let them outburst the problems they raised, instead, to give them a chance to put forward their queries in front of the government representatives. To further explain – there was a Panel Discussion on 7th February in Max Mueller Bhavan, to emphasize these problems. Part of the panelists were; an officer from BMC and a famous contractor who has contributed his life in structuring some of the major parts of Mumbai. On 8th February, we had a Heritage walk, wherein the idea of ‘Learning from the past and Planning for the future’ was the focus. The depiction of knowing the city from the root level and maneuvering across the finest structures starting from the Asiatic Library up to the Flora Fountain and Hutatma Chowk, was a fruitful walk with so many insights, which polished our historical and geographical knowledge.
Shirshak Chavan at the onset, found it quite challenging to approach & engage with people, but eventually people started associating with the pictures of ‘Unequal Scenes of Mumbai’ (an aerial picture of Mumbai by Johnny Miller) and the interaction became more valuable. This experience helped the volunteers build their self-confidence and also developed their communication skills as they networked with people from diverse backgrounds.