“I’ve been shooting in Kashmir for the past 4 years, I started going there because of a documentary I was doing on my father (Raghu Rai), then I stuck around.”Avani Rai, Photographer
Photographer and filmmaker Avani Rai’s works focuses mainly on the women and children of Kashmir. Her stark and stunning black and white photographs offer an insight into the everyday life of an ordinary Kashmiri. Though Avani has not been able to return to Kashmir after the government’s decision to abrogate Article 370, she shares with us photographs taken on her previous visits to the valley.
“The reason I am a photographer today is because of Kashmir. I felt the need to pick up the camera when I was in Kashmir. So I am happy I am here because I being able to share my experience from Kashmir. I am not their spokesperson, I don’t want to be and the reason I am talking today is because very few people are. This is when I want to say that let us not talk about the community as the problem because we need to connect with the individual to understand what it is and what it’s all about because that’s what I have been doing.”Avani Rai, Photographer
Avani hopes her photographs create a space for conversation about not just what’s happening in Kashmir but also for Kashmiri’s to talk and for the rest of us to listen.
“This is not a campaign that we started by being red on social media, and forgetting about it the moment there is something else that happens in the state or in the country but to consistently as responsible people create that space to listen when someone is talking or someone wants to talk from Kashmir and when they do get to talk. Let’s just open up some space in our heads, in our lives to be able to do that.”Avani Rai, Photographer
Watch the video to see the images captured by Avani Rai.
Exhibit A: Kashmir by Avani Rai is currently on at Method Art Space, Mumbai from 15 - 24 August 2019
Location Courtesy: Method Art Space, Mumbai
Reporter / Producer: Suresh Mathew
Camera: Sanjoy Deb
Editor: Ashish Maccune