The plight of street children

2010-08-28 00:00

“FOR street children, a good night’s sleep is a distant dream. Threatened by toughs, persecuted by the law, they take their rest as it comes — in little snatches, crouched under stairways, or perched on narrow parapets­.

“Driven from their villages and homes by economic disaster, or parental abuse, these children are refugees in an urban environment they do not comprehend — perfect fodder for the underworld of drugs, sex and violence­. Frail in body yet indomitable in spirit, they survive from day to day.”

These haunting words form the the foreward to the exhibition Where The Streets Have No Name, which is currently on show at the Durban Art Gallery in Anton Lembede (Smith) Street.

Curated by Dr Alka Pande, the exhibition — which forms part of Shared History – the Indian Experience in South Africa — has paired artists with street children and asked them to work together to create a set of twin artworks; one by the artists themselves and the other a collaboration between the artist and the street children.

The artists who took part in the project included Anjum Siddiqui, Brinda Miller, Bulbul Sharma, Gabriella Montanari, Mahua Sen, Nelly Meignié-Huber, Panchal Mansaram, Remen Chopra, Roy Sinai, Seema Kohli, Simrin Mehra-Agarwal, Siri Khandavilli, Sunaina Bhalla, Tarun Rawat and Viren Tanwar.

They worked with children from the Salaam Balaak Trust, which was set up in 1988 to give street children in India the chance to have food, security, health, love, education and a place to play and to dream.

Commenting on the project Pande, who is consultant art advisor and curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the India Habitat Centre­ in New Delhi said: “The engagement between the artist and the children became a dynamic one, both inspired and enabled each other to create a fresh language, which is evidenced in the second completed painting.

“Where The Streets Have No Name was an exciting journey for all of us involved, from the artists, to the children and for me as the curator. The artworks that have emerged reflect the energies of the people.” • Where The Streets Have No Name can be seen at the Durban Art Gallery until September 5 between 10 am and 4 pm. Admission is free.• For further information on the festival and a programme, visit the Shared History website


BLENDING classical, blues and jazz with Indian­ classical music has helped world music legend Mrigya (pictured below), to make history. The band — which will be presenting its recontextualised Indian rhythms and melodies at 6.30 pm in the Durban City Hall on September 4 — was the first Indian group to get a five-star rating at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Mrigya consists of Sharat Chandra Srivastava (violin-vocals), Gyan Singh(tabla, dholak, mridangam and vocals), Indraneel Hariharan (bass guitar-vocals), Sachin Kapoor (keyboards-vocals), Rajat Kakkar (drums and percussion), Karan Sharma (guitars), Gulaam Qadar (vocals, Sufi), and Sukriti Sen (vocals, Indian classical).

The Durban concert is one of four being staged by the band in South Africa in September as part of Shared History — the Indian Experience in South Africa.

You can also catch the band at Zoo Lake on September 5 at the Arts Alive Festival’s annual Jazz, at the Gandhi Hall in Lenasia on September 6 and in Pretoria at the Rendezvous, State Theatre on September 7. Booking is through Computicket.

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