Curator Selection / 2022 / /

Growing up on landfills of Delhi

  • Photographer
    Payal Kakkar
  • Website
    http://www.payalkakkar.in/
  • Instagram
    https://www.instagram.com/payaldewankakkar/

Children of untitled migrants learn to pick plastics with resale value from an early age and they lose their childhood to the landfill. Bhalaswa Landfill of Delhi is their playground, school and work place. In the photograph, the unconcerned child, unruffled by the dangers walks confidently over burning garbage. Growing up he has seen a burning landfill throw toxic fumes every summer. This year is different, the landfill has been burning for 3 months episodically due to trapped methane in the landfill site and severe heat wave in Delhi and temperatures soaring to 118 deg. Fahrenheit.

I am a self-taught photo artist from Delhi, India who blurs the lines between documentary and art photography. Exploring themes from architectural heritage to landscape and environment conservation, my work focuses on color, line and form to make an emotional connection with the viewer. My photographs focus on landscapes impacted by human consumption and activity.I am an active environmentalist and an educator. I specialized in garbage treatment for towns but moved into photography as a means to have a more immediate impact on conservation.

Awards I am an active environmentalist & an educator. I specialized in garbage treatment for towns but moved into photography as a means to have a more immediate impact on conservation. ‘Mining & Its Afterlives in Goa, India’ was among the 4 shortlisted for Iyarkai Grant (Conservation Grant), Chennai Photo Biennale 2022. I am one of the selected photographer for ‘Interfaces, Intervention & Interruption’ for photographing impact of Climate Change Mitigation projects of Swiss Development Cooperation in India.Twice, in 2021 and 2022, my works have been shortlisted as finalists in abstract category in Sienna Drone Photo Awards.

I believe that visual language of camera can be a powerful tool to create social & environmental change. I conduct photography classes for the disabled at Sanjay School & NAB, Goa. I have collaborated with Goa Foundation & share my photographs for free to help the villagers get justice in court cases. Court gave Stay Order on deforestation of a private forest in Goa & Sampling of impounded water in a closed mine, 150-meter-deep for set up of Water Treatment Plant was carried out in another case.

I was a Speaker at Goa Arts and Literature Festival, 2018 on 'Ecclesiastical Goa: 16th and 17th Century Churches'.

Published Articles:
June 14, 2021 - The Quint, Citizen Journalism, Water Crisis, Loss of Livelihood for Villages in Goa's Mining Belt, https://www.thequint.com/my-report/goa-mining-iron-manganese-environmental-destruction-deforestation-climate-change