Arati Kumar-Rao is an independent environmental photographer, writer, and artist documenting the slow violence* of ecological degradation.
Wars make headlines. But the slow violence inflicted on communities by environmental degradation and climate change, which is neither spectacular nor explosive, remains invisible and unreported.
It unfolds over temporal scales, its true implication manifesting over several generations. There is one such silent un-monitored crisis billowing across South Asia, and it has to do with freshwater and migration forced by environmental degradation.
Thus, Arati criss-crosses the sub-continent following a single story, sometimes across seasons, sometimes over years, in order to document South Asia’s changing landscapes and livelihoods.
She communicates through photos, longform narratives, and art and is currently working on her first book.
Her work has appeared in NationalGeographic.org, The Hindu, #Dysturb, The Guardian, BBC Outside Source, Hindustan Times, Mint, National Geographic Traveler India, Yahoo! Media, Scroll.in, Quartz, and other Indian and international outlets..
Arati contributes to @EverydayClimateChange and @EverydayExtinction on Instagram and has been exhibited in India and internationally.
She was awarded a National Geographic Explorer grant in November 2018 to document forced human migration.
COLLABORATIONS, AFFILIATIONS, AWARDS, & GRANTS:
Grant: National Geographic Explorer Grant, awarded November 2018, for work through 2020
National Geographic Slow Journalism workshops: Co-taught with two-time Pulitzer Prize winning writer, Paul Salopek, ex-National Geographic Staff Writer Don Belt, and senior editor Prem Panicker: May 2018, September 2018, November 2018
National Geographic Photo Camp, Assisted, November 2018
Out of Eden Walk, National Geographic: Walking partner of National Geographic fellow Paul Salopek across 600 km of India: March - May 2018. Read Article
Exhibited in Serendipity Arts Festival, December 2017, Goa.
Serendipity Arts Festival is a multidisciplinary event on the banks of the river Mandovi in Panaji, Goa. A cultural experience in itself, the festival brings together visual, performing and culinary arts. Curated by a panel of artists and institutional figures, this second edition will feature over 70 art projects including 40 projects that are commissioned specifically for the festival.
Report about my exhibit here.
Award: The first Anupam Mishra Memorial Medal for excellence in river journalism by World Wildlife Fund India, INTACH, India Rivers Week, November 2017 in New Delhi, India
Report on receiving the award/ my work here, here and here
Contributor to @EverydayExtinction on Instagram
The 6th extinction of global biodiversity is underway. Photographers around the world document its causes, effects and solutions.
Contributor to #reframeclimate: #Dysturb & Magnum Foundation Exhibit at Look3 Festival From its origins as a street intervention in Paris during the #COP21 Climate Change Summit to the city of Charlottesville, #reframeclimate challenges the stereotypical notions of what climate change looks like in order to expand and deepen perceptions about its many implications.Co-mentored Saevus Wildlife India LLP's Youth4Clicks 2017 workshop, March 2017
Contributor to @EverydayClimateChange on Instagram, since February 2015. This is a collaboration of photographers posting information from around the world on how anthropogenic activities are changing landscapes and lives around the world and what, if anything, is being done to mitigate it.
Conducted a MasterClass in Visual Storytelling & Social Advocacy at Objectifs, Singapore, March 2017
Speaker, In Conversation @Objectifs, Singapore. Stories that Matter, March 2017
Exhibited as part of @EverydayClimateChange @Objectifs, Singapore, March 2017
Honorable Mention in Imagely Fund Competition 2016
Represented India in Apple's new #ShotOniPhone7 "One Night on Earth" campaign
Solo Exhibition: "Landscapes of Loss" at National Center for Biological Sciences, "Future of Nature" series, November 2016
Keynote Speaker at Moving Waters Film Festival, Bangalore, India 2016
Mentored by Ed Kashi and James Estrin as part of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center's Visual Storytelling Mentoring program
Grant: Earth Journalism Network Biodiversity Grant for work on the Gangetic dolphin, March 2016
Named by Shutterstock in "100 Photographers From Around the World That You Should Follow Right Now"
Named by The Guardian in "The environment photographers you should be following on Instagram"
Named in Mashables "10 female photojournalists with their lenses on social justice"
Named in Time Magazine's "8 Eco-Conscious Instagram Accounts to Follow on Earth Day"
"Endangered Estuaries" Solo Photography Exhibition at Te Manawa, New Zealand
Keynote speaker at New Zealand India Research Institute's Sustainable Environments in 21st Century India, Massey University, NZ
Speaker at Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, 2016
Media delegate in the United Nations Women's representation at COP21; Report, December 2015
Award: Outstanding Photojournalism 2015; Society For Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Award, Honorable Mention, for Oil-spill in the Sundarbans
Award: Exhibited at the Royal Geographical Society, London as part of the Environmental Photographer of the Year (EPOTY 2015) for Oil-spill In the Sundarbans
Grant: The Asia Foundation & The Third Pole Fellowship in February 2015 to report along the Ganges in West Bengal.