"Images of India: Call to Action" Explores Slum Life from a Child's Perspective

The opening event for "Images of India: Call to Action," will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 at Case Center Gallery. The exhibition displays a collection of student photography by fourth and fifth grade children from the Okhla slum of New Delhi, India.

"Images of India" is the result of senior David Schlenker's recent trip to the country. The International Affairs and History double major received a SEE-Beyond Award to teach slum children there, on behalf of nonprofit organization Project WHY. During his stay, he realized that old methods of teaching English were no longer an option to solve current global problems. Schlenker took students out of the two-room brick school atop a trash dump and put agency in the learning process back in the hands of his students. The students used photography as a lens to examine their lives from a new perspective while learning English in a context that made sense. The result is a set of photographs that reveals a story different than what the average Western audience might read in newspapers or watch on TV.

Upon returning to campus, Schlenker partnered with the Office of the First Year Experience to draw a unique connection between his work and the stories told in the first-year's reading selection, "Behind the Beautiful Forevers," by Katherine Boo. The exhibit exposes a new perspective on the stories in Boo's Pulitzer Prize winning book, based on her work with slum children in Mumbai. The images further act as a call to action for students to use creative, interdisciplinary solutions to make significant, feasible change.

"Images of India: Call to Action" will run at the college from Oct. 4 until October 10.

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