‘Too much salt’

Mandula Bashu van den Berg - India


May 16, 2016


Throughout the last months of my stay in India, I put a lot of effort in my so called Final Community Project. ‘Too much salt’, a street art project on domestic violence was supposed to be an attempt to demonstrate my learnings and give something, however small, ‘back’  to my community.

At first, I was really scared. I had been so busy avoiding anything that resembled white-saviourism, how could I then justify me Taking Action after all?

Well, the medium of street art proved to be a way out for me. I believe street art creates the possibility to introduce the subject in a straightforward manner but without direct personal confrontation. Further, I think in this case it was a nicely symbolic way to take such an ‘inside’ issue ‘out onto the streets”.

Because the focus on domestic violence had come very naturally.  The issue had been a recurring theme throughout my time in India and it was so good for me to gain some insight in the actual realities of domestic violence around me. I still believe domestic violence of any sort is wrong, but whereas initially I condemned every form of physical, verbal or emotional abuse without questioning, I now do so in an almost understanding way. Once again, just shutting up and listening proved the best way to get an entry into the complex fabric of Indian society. 

As for the responses I got, they were predictably mixed but overall very positive. Although several posters were torn down, most people I spoke to articulated their appreciation for my attempt to create awareness. Several young men offered their help, children asked countless questions and one old lady stroked my hair with trembling hand. 

Of course my posters won’t have generated a lot of Change, but they were never really meant to either. I just believe that every seed of potential awareness is one, and this was mine. 


P.S. If anyone is interested in the complete set of posters, let me know. I would also very much be up for continuing this project in a similar or slightly different format. Once again, just let me know: mandula.vandenberg@gmail.com


Mandula Bashu van den Berg