Long form features: UCL
Art, academics and activism
How a UCL professor came to co-produce an art biennale in India that opened up taboos about public health. By Sasha Arms.
One year ago, 9,000 people in Mumbai started to gather in Dharavi, one of the largest informal settlements in the world, for an artistic festival unlike any other. Visitors to the Dharavi (or Alley Galli) Biennale were confronted with puppet shows about tuberculosis, Bollywood-style portraits of healthcare providers, a quilted map depicting violence hotspots and many more provocative exhibits that encapsulated health education in art. As befits Mumbai’s status as one of the largest cities in the Global South, Dharavi alone has one million inhabitants crammed into less than one square mile.
“Dharavi and its people are really rather famous,” says Professor David Osrin of the UCL Institute of Global Health, who is a Wellcome Trust Fellow and a driving force behind the biennale...