Documenting Informalities

A book produced by a group of artists enrolled in Art & Architecture 2006-07. Editors: Maria Lantz and Jonatan Habib Engkvist.
The book was produced at the Royal Institute of Art and supported primarily by SIDA.
DHARAVI Documenting Informalities can be ordered from KKH. Please send an e-mail to Nina Lindgren.

A grant from SASNET was crucial in the process of getting a second edition printed in Bombay. The result of the book release in Bombay 2009 can be read here:

"A SASNET supported projects seems to have far-reaching effects against the eviction of the Dharavi slums in Mumbai, India. The book Dharavi: Documenting Informalities, launched in 2008, was a project made by ten artists, architects and academics at the Dept. of Art & Architecture (http://www.sasnet.lu.se/artsth.html), Royal University College of Fine Arts (KKH) in Stockholm. The book contained 300 pages of drawings, photographs and articles on the informal settlement Dharavi in the centre of Mumbai, India. Texts by Saskia Sassen and Arjun Appadurai accompany the articles. More information about the book project. http://www.sasnet.lu.se/artsth.html#dhar
The KKH group behind the book, led by Maria Lantz, Senior Lecturer, was rewarded a SASNET planning grant in August 2008, http://www.sasnet.lu.se/grants.html#08. The idea was to travel back to Mumbai and Dharavi in order to organise a workshop with an aim to evaluate the book and investigate how the material collected for it, could be used on location.

The project group could never have guessed how things should move on. In November 2009 an Indian edition of the book was released and an exhibition in Prince of Wales Museum opened. Here, artist-talks and debates were conducted by the artists and the slum-dwellers organisations.

    Dharavi book


Gautam Chatterjee, Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the Maharashtra Housing & Area Development Authority (MHADA) participated in the event along with the Swedish Ambassador to India, Mr Lars-Olof Lindgren, and Mr. Dan Ericsson, State Secretary to the Swedish Minister for Local Government and Financial Markets.

Most interesting was the speech then held by Mr. Chatterjee at the book release function. He now claimed that the book Dharavi: Documenting Informalities helped him to make a decision to stop the ongoing plans to evict the inhabitants of Dharavi and sell out the land. A decision that was taken by the previous CEO of MHADA. This fact was loudly applauded by the Dharavi representatives who have long struggled to improve their livelihood on locations, but has refused to accept evictions from this uniqe place - a vernacular city, created and planned by people themselves."