Daastan- e-Nayandahalli – A photo exhibition by Pinky Chandran and Marwan Abubaker
Informal waste recycling in the context of urban informality is characterised by ignorance, non-recognition and social exclusion. Exclusion, as people working in waste are often stigmatised for their association with it. However, even though the informal waste economy has been compensating for the inadequate solid waste management systems in the city and country, many key players in this informal chain are neither acknowledged nor appreciated for their worth. Treated as nuisance, they are constantly pushed in the margins. This case attempts to study the recyclers of Nayandahalli and in doing so makes efforts to trace the actors involved in the informal recycling economy, and move away from binary definitions of waste of “use and throw”, and to appreciate waste as a resource.
The photo exhibition, is an outcome of the case development project of IIHS (Indian Institute of Human Settlements), under the theme “Re-Framing Urban Inclusion”.
HasiruDala’s submission was to study the scale of operations of the informal recycling units in Nayandahalli, Bangalore. The year -long project involved ethnographic methods including semi-structured interviews, radio interviews, mapping exercises and still photography.
Over 2500 photographs have been chronicled and the photo exhibition is a tribute to the recyclers of Nayandahalli. Sifting through these to select 45 was so not an easy task, however, we wanted to tell the story of the recyclers of Nayandahalli.
And so, we present Daastan-e-Nayandahalli: Series 1
The exhibition has no subtitles below the photographs, but poems accompany each segment, as we want to draw attention to the invisibility and at the same time want each viewer to describe, classify and interpret each photo.
So re-imagine the informal waste economy, acknowledge of their existence, through spatial, political, social, cultural, and economic aspects. Rethink our understandings of the informal and informality – informality and marginalization in the waste sector, informality as a means of survival- without social benefits (working in and with waste), planning for informality- spaces earmarked for them, from a policy perspective, appreciating economic contribution to the municipality (from a recycling perspective).
Poems : Pinky Chandran