We only have a week to go to finish our quilt before the Dharavi Biennale exhibition opens. It is now a mad scramble to get it finished. And a scramble for a space to work in, space is always at a premium in Dharavi. We were booted out of the main venue as another group took over to make recycled furniture. We were relocated to the community centre, a tiny room up a ladder above a shop, but is a lovely clean and light space to work. Unfortunately there are still community activism activities ongoing and we need to fit around them. So yesterday we had to share the tiny space with a rather large noisy meeting. So we had about 50 people crammed into the small space. I spent the time carefully picking my way through the women as I checked on their work and answered their questions, trying really hard not to step on anyone or anything. Several times I nearly sat on boxes of thread and scissors and people's feet. And its warming up, so I was very red faced and thirsty by the end of the session.
Imagine another 25 people with little desks fitting into this space.
We are doing an intensive 3 days, hoping to finish by Sunday. Today we have the space to ourselves, then tomorrow we have to move everything to another room around the corner. But the map is coming along wonderfully and we have now started to join together the finished pieces.
Here are some of the pieces in progress, the white plastic webbing is now representing the commercial buildings, shops and cafes, as we ran out of the clothing labels that we used at first, the stuff that I picked up from the floor of a workshop. The white and blue webbing is toilets and the green webbing is permanent structures. Buttons are temples and other places of worship and the detailed random squares of embroidery are the jhopadpatti, or informal settlements. One of the participants, a very amusing transgender, said that we would get into trouble with the municipal authorities for making illegal settlements