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City for All?

Public art festival questioning the role of gender in our cities


Bonjour India’s City for All? will commence on 2nd April in Jaipur. It is part of the Bonjour India initiative, an artistic, cultural, educational, and social initiative by the Embassy of France and its cultural service Institut Français en Inde, the Alliance Française Network, and the Consulates of France.

The City for All? exhibition endeavors to make public spaces in Indian cities more accessible to women and transgender people by engaging the masses in public art projects. The inauguration at Jaipur’s Jawahar Kala Kendra- scheduled for the 2nd and 3rd of April – will be the climax of the first leg of this exhibition. At the inauguration, visitors will discover novel solutions that can make public spaces more accessible to women and transgender people. Also, at the inauguration visitors will enjoy a live performance by the talented musician Sumitra Devi and go on a curated walk with artist and architect Swati Janu.

City for All?’ is a public art festival to question the role of gender in shaping public spaces and urban experiences. From chai stalls to parks, buses to toilets - look around and you will find that the public spaces across Indian cities, like in the rest of the world - are mostly occupied by fully grown, able-bodied, upper caste, cis-heterosexual men. Through neighborhood interactions and workshops, the 6 city project urges the public to reimagine the design and architecture of urban centres from an inclusive perspective. This collaboration between Swati Janu of Social Design Collaborative and Chris Blache of Genre et Ville (Gender & Society) seeks to generate awareness through dialogue and art.

The project will travel across 36 neighborhoods in Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore and Delhi to map diverse communities’ relationship with their cities. The interactions will bring out local histories, narratives and patterns on how we use our public spaces based on our gender, identity, age and abilities as well as the local diversity of economic background, class and caste. Online exchanges between students of design, planning and architecture from France and India further highlight personal and collective gendered experiences. A final exhibition in each city will showcase the maps, with interactive discourses, public debates, cultural performances and curated walks to bring visibility to a much needed question: who builds our cities, and for whom?

The City for All? is open to the public and is scheduled in 5 other cities: Chandigarh on 9th and 10th April, Ahmedabad on 16th and 17th April, Pune on 23rd and 24th April, Bangalore on 29th and 30th April, and Delhi on 7th and 8th May. At the end of the exhibit, it will travel to Lyon, France.


Swati Janu and Chris Blache


Institut français India , Alliance Francaise India and AMBASSADE DE FRANCE EN INDE
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