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The Trash Caste

Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo spent more than three years in Mumbai's Annawadi slum to do research for her book Behind the Beautiful Forevers. Residents of the slum — which is located next to the Mumbai airport and in the shadow of several luxury hotels — live in devastating poverty.

Some inhabitants lack any shelter and sleep outside. Rats commonly bite sleeping children, and barely a handful of the 3,000 residents have the security of full-time employment. Over the course of her time in Annawadi, Boo learned about the residents' social distinctions, their struggles to escape poverty, and conflicts that sometimes threw them into the clutches of corrupt government officials. Her book reads like a novel, but the characters are real.

Photography by Amiran White

The Wright Museum of Art is proud to bring the work of Associated Press photographer Amiran White to the South Gallery. White, herself having spent a significant time in Mumbai documenting slum conditions, brings Katherine Boo's words to life with her unflinching and heartbreaking photographic record of life in the slum.

Trash Caste  

“It seemed to him that in Annawadi, fortunes derived not just from what people did, or how well they did it, but from the accidents and catastrophes they dodged. A decent life was the train that hadn’t hit you, the slumlord you hadn’t offended, the malaria you hadn’t caught.” 

Trash Caste

“Sunil and Abdul sat together more often than before, but when they spoke, it was with the curious formality of people who shared the understanding that much of what was said did not matter, and that much of what mattered could not be said.”

Trash Caste 

For more on Photographer Amiran White, visit her homepage here:

The exhibit runs through October 20.