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This essay presents the theoretical framework that informs my reflections on the hegemony of the slums’ poverty and human conditions, and whether art can disrupt the hegemony and also become a conduit to question our Being, hence Dasein, as per Martin Heidegger. The following pages investigate the work of Hema Upadhyay, in India, and specially, her inspiring protest work offering insights on India’s overpopulation in urban areas such as, Dharavi. She depicts slums becoming a continuum circle of human misery and wealth, politically called a negative social spiral. I argue that the slums, not only destroy the harmony and promise of a city’s good life, but they generate a need for a disruption of the hegemony of poverty and overpopulation, as a democratic response. Most importantly, art can assist in the process of disarticulation of the ‘common sense’ knowledge on the slums, and generation of new hegemonies, as per the theory of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe.
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Pease, Silvia Márquez, "Hema Upadhyay: Disrupting the hegemony of the slums, a negative social spiral." (2022). Department of Art and Art History. 10.
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