Compassion for the Kabaris: Delhi's Wastepickers at the heart of a bold new green initiative.
The eminent Indian photo-journalist Raghu Rai's exhibition, Compassion for the Kabaris, is now open at John McAslan + Partners' William Road Gallery, with a selection of nineteen works vividly portraying the lives of the waste-pickers who comb through the tons of waste dumped on Delhi's biggest landfill site, Ghazipur, recycling as they go.
The exhibition, commissioned by the practice, draws attention to the work of the Chintan (Environmental Research and Action Group) at Ghazipur. Chintan places waste-pickers - the Kabaris - at the heart of a new national initiative to improve the lives of Kabari families, whilst highlighting the urgent need for better organised and more humane waste recycling. The initiative aims to ultimately stop children becoming Kabaris - an estimated 179 of the 690 children living in the Ghazipur landfill community in 2011 worked as Kabaris, whilst only 221 attended school.
Rai's photographs are not covert snatch-shots, nor are they meant to shock. The images are compassionate portraits revealing the details of the lives of the Kabaris: glimpses of effort and dignity, flashes of ebullience and the rigours of survival flickering vividly in an otherwise squalid landscape.
The exhibition describes the unique character of the Kabaris of Ghazipur: this community of over 1,100 people is entirely dependent on recycling for a living; and picked out items from landfills are, in turn, crucial to the thousands of small shop owners and tailors in Delhi for the creation of marketable goods.
Rai's photographs sit within the gallery space established by John McAslan + Partners, which has worked within neglected communities around the world; from the restoration of the Iron Market in Haiti, to a modular school design for rural Malawi.
Following the exhibition at The William Road Gallery, Compassion for the Kabaris will be on display at Dunoon Burgh Hall in Argyll, Scotland.
Title: Compassion for the Kabaris: Delhi's Wastepickers at the heart of a bold new green initiative
Dates/times of exhibition: runs until 30th September, Monday- Friday 8.30am-6.30pm
Venue: William Road Gallery, 7-9 William Road, London NW1 3ER Tel: 020 7313 6000
For more information on the exhibition: