PORTRAITS OF KAMALAPUR, 12th Oct – 26th Oct NSH Arts, 439 Mile End Road, E3 4PB
Dhaka is one of the most rapidly urbanising and dense megacities in the world, with a population of over 17 million people. Women and young people are particularly vulnerable to homelessness in Bangladesh, which may occur following exploitation and violence within their families and places of employment. Coming to the streets is often the only option for single women and young people, due to limited social protection mechanisms and barriers to them accessing safe and secure housing and employment.
Kamalapur Station is the largest and one of the most important transportation hubs between Dhaka and the rest of Bangladesh. On any given night, several hundred people can be found sleeping in the station – some spend a few nights whilst others remain there for decades. Violence, trauma, broken trust and relationships are everyday realities of women and young people living in the station, with ongoing physical and mental health ramifications for those experiencing chronic homelessness.
Kutkut is a new mental health and wellbeing project that will be piloted in Kamalapur in 2018. The project aims to develop innovative, flexible and playful ways to address extreme urban poverty, with a focus on mental health and well-being for women and young people.
Kutkut will be led and facilitated by Paraa; a participatory design research studio based in Dhaka, in collaboration with Shoshannah Williams; an occupational therapist and researcher who has conducted a year-long ethnographic study with the women of Kamlapur. Kutkut is the result of the team-members involvement with the women and young people in the station, spending time with, listening to, supporting and drawing the women and young people in the station.
“The studies across the sketchbooks, I hope you’ll see and feel, what I felt at the time. There is a rigour of revisiting the site, and re-drawing the same sitters, if chance permits. It is up to the viewer to imagine what the life of each sitter may be.” – Ruhul Abdin
NEXT STEPS : BOOK LAUNCH OF PORTRAITS OF KAMALAPUR
We will be launching a limited edition book of the portraits later this year as a way to raise much needed funds for the pilot phase of the Kutkut project. For project and book release updates, please sign up here : www.paraa.org.uk/kutkut