If you haven’t been to the National Building Museum in a while, be sure not to miss an interactive multimedia exhibit called “The Places We Live.” The exhibit provides striking access into the homes and lives of of 20 different families in four slums around the world:
- Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya
- Dharavi in Mumbai, India
- The ‘barrios’ of Caracas, Venezuela
- The ‘kampongs’ of Jakarta, Indonesia
The exhibit is the product of Magnum Photos and the Nobel Peace Center, Oslo, Norway, and is supported by Canon. The Norwegian artist Jonas Bendiksen came up with the project that consumed three years of his life after a stay in Kibera, Nairobi — one of Africa’s largest slums. Visitors to the exhibit are forced to challenge some of their “own assumptions about urban poverty,” just as Bendiksen did. According to the National Building Museum Web site on the exhibit:
[Bendiksen] discovered that—beyond the common perceptions of poverty, misery, destitution, insecurity, and danger—that there were more stories that needed to be expressed. In “The Places We Live” , Bendiksen captures the enterprise and hard-work, hope and humor, and love and compassion that occur even in the face of some of the world’s most difficult environments.
Worldwide more than 1 billion people live in areas classified as slums. That number is expected to double by 2025 as major cities in the developing world struggle to accommodate to the forces of modernity and rural migration. Catch the exhibit before it moves on to Europe and Asia. Also, be sure to catch a recent post I did on TheCityFix Global about Jakarta’s overwhelming problems of urban poverty and transportation.