Design Museum Dharavi opens with two exhibitions in Mumbai slum

by Kim Megson | 29 Feb 2016

Design Museum Dharavi - a portable museum in one of the world’s largest slums – has opened in Mumbai, India with exhibitions on terracotta pottery and cricket.

Spanish artist Jorge Mañes Rubio and art critic Amanda Pinatih have launched the project for an initial two month run to host workshops, exhibitions and cultural events showcasing the skills of local artists and designers in Dharavi – home to more than 1m people living in a very confined space.

The museum was originally planned as a caravan which could be easily disassembled and towed by a scooter, but has instead been created as a 24ft (7m) platform resting on local metal vendor carts to ease mobility.

“The museum had to be a bit smaller, more flexible and new and shiny, so local makers would be very proud to work with us and take ownership of the platform,” said Rubio. “We liked the idea of market carts that are pushed by hand and that are normally used to sell fruit and other goods.”

The museum’s debut exhibition was a showcase of local crafts in Kumbharwada – a community of 800 pottery-making families. Artisans were paid to create terracotta chai tea cups, water containers, ceramics and broom handles for the show.

“We see the potters as co-creators, so that they can take ownership of what they’ve made,” said Rubio. “We never told them, ‘This is what you’re supposed to do.’ We came here and asked them what design problems they were facing, and suggested what could be done.”

A second exhibition of designs themed around cricket – a national obsession – has since taken place, with a celebratory cricket tournament organised between four local teams.

“Despite the tough conditions the people of Dharavi live in, they are capable of creating, designing, manufacturing and commercialising all kinds of goods. These could be as valuable as those collected by design museums,” said Rubio when the concept of the museum was first announced in January. “By creating a Design Museum – a place for contemplation – we make this city within a city more liveable.”

The cultural programme for March will soon be announced. The museum is expected to close by the end of Q1, before returning to Mumbai for a second phase in the future.

Design Museum Dharavi  exhibitions  Mumbai  portable museum  India  architecture  design  art  culture  
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Mumbai slum to host Spanish artist's design museum

Design Museum Dharavi - a portable museum in one of the world’s largest slums – has opened in Mumbai, India with exhibitions on terracotta pottery and cricket. Spanish artist Jorge Mañes Rubio and art critic Amanda Pinatih have launched the project for an initial two month run to host workshops, exhibitions and cultural events showcasing the skills of local artists and designers in Dharavi – home to more than 1m
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The museum contains a 24ft platform resting on a local metal vendor cart, which transports it around Dharavi
/ Design Museum Dharavi
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