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Ravi Agarwal
New Delhi
courtesy of the artist

Lieu d’exposition
/ Exhibition place

Édifice Jacques-Parizeau Sous-sol / Underground, œuvre / artwork n°2
photography | print


Ravi Agarwal is an artist, environmental campaigner, writer, and curator. Bridging the divide between art and activism he addresses the entangled questions of nature and its futures using photography, video, text, and installation. His work ranges from the long documentary to the conceptual and performative engaging pressing questions of social and environmental justice. His work has been shown widely at major museums and at the Biennials of Havana (2019), Yinchuan (2018), Kochi (2016), Sharjah (2013), Indian Highway (2009), and Documenta XI (2002) in addition to solo and group shows. His latest photobook The Power Plant – Fragments in Time has just been published. He has been appointed the Co-Convener of the Bergen Assembly 2025. Additionally, Ravi Agarwal is the founding director of the environmental NGO Toxics Link and founder of The Shyama Foundation, which supports art and ecology practices in India. He is the recipient of the UN-IFCS Award for Chemical Safety, as well as the Ashoka Fellowship.

Approach and works on display

Down and Out: Labouring under Global Capitalism (1997-2000)

These photographs come from the series Down and Out: Labouring Under Global Capitalism (1997-2000), which was also published as a book. Tying together Ravi Agarwal’s combined interests as a photographer and social activist, this series documents migrant laborers in India. Taken over a period of two and half years in the countryside of South Gujarat (near the city of Surat), the photographs powerfully show the underpaid and precarious work upon which global capitalism is built. There is an attention here to the intimate material conditions of labor and to the effects of the processes of extraction on the more-than-human world. As the artist spent so much time with the people he depicts here, he manages to capture not only the deeply unjust conditions but the assertion and persistence of life itself, in all its beauty and entanglements.


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