A public art exhibition ‘City for All?’ reaches the capital after traveling through 5 cities
At the inauguration of the exhibition in New Delhi, visitors witnessed novel and practical solutions that can make public spaces more accessible to women, non-binary and transgender people
A public art exhibition ‘City for All?’ has finally reached Delhi after traveling through Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune and Bangalore. It endeavors to make public spaces in Indian cities more accessible to women, non-binary and transgender people by engaging the masses in public art projects. The inauguration was recently held at Bikaner House in presence of Dana Purcarescu, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of France in India. It marks the culmination of a week-long series of mapping and walks in different neighborhoods of Delhi and of the 6-week pan-India tour of the project.
“Over the past week, by interacting with thousands of people in the 6 cities, we have come to learn what are the truly inclusive and open-to-all spaces in each city. Surprisingly, these differ from city to city. While Pune has its local hills ‘Tekdis’, Bangalore has its lakes as important public spaces which are unfortunately fast disappearing. Delhi is a city of monuments which are emerging as the most popular spots for people from diverse backgrounds. India Gate is everyone’s favorite public space here in Delhi, which used to be accessible even at night for women due to its street vendors before it closed for the Central Vista construction. While Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh is a similar kind of a public space in Chandigarh, in Jaipur it turned out to be Amer Fort,” explains Swati Janu, who is an architect and artist.
“However, spaces which feel open to all and safe can often end up excluding many. Transgender people spoke about how most beauty parlors don’t entertain them and often malls end up denying them entry due to their gender. Basic facilities such as toilets and reserved space in buses, trains can go a long way in including transgender people in our public spaces while also supporting in representation and identity. Several women opened up about how temples are the only public space they feel they are ‘allowed’ to go to. By bringing these conversations to the fore, we hope we can create more public awareness on gender inclusion in cities,” adds Janu.
At the inauguration in New Delhi, visitors witnessed novel and practical solutions that can make public spaces more accessible to women, non-binary and transgender people. They attended a curated walk with Swati Janu, an open mic session on gender and sexuality with local poets as well as an Astro night sky tourism session.
Over the week before the exhibition, a pin-up map of the city had been traveling across 6 Delhi neighborhoods. The chosen neighborhoods are socio-economically diverse to allow people from different backgrounds to partake in the activities. All 30 maps created in the project over the past 5 weeks from Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore are being exhibited alongside the 6 from Delhi. Accompanying them are dialogues and stories that emerged from each Delhi neighborhood.
‘The City for All?’ like all Bonjour India’s events are open to all. At the end of the exhibit in Delhi, it will travel to Lyon, France as well to create similar conversations there, bringing France and India closer on the important issues of gender equality and inclusion in city design.