Portrait of a Protest

The images here, from 2006 to 2020, of angry women and men walking down the streets protesting against the government are also faces in the crowd, but of an entirely different kind. These images aren’t about suffering and oppression, but about resistance and anger, of celebration, hope, and solidarity. The photographs are from various movements in India, notably the Nandigram movement, Singur, Lalgarh, the people’s resistance against operation Green Hunt, HokKolorob, the Jawaharlal Nehru University sedition row, protests after Rohith Vemula’s death, strike in FTII, protests after the Dadri lynching, protests after the murder of rationalists like Kalburgi, Dabholkar, Pansare and activist Gauri Lankesh from 2013 to 2017 to the most recent anti NRC/CAA/NPR protests that have shaken India. The photographs were taken over the past 15 years, mostly on mobile phone, and were shared instantly on social media from where they were in turn circulated and re-appropriated, creating a fluid digital archive which is expanding and evolving with each passing day.

Ronny Sen is a film director, writer, and photographer based in Calcutta. His debut feature film Cat Sticks world-premiered in the competition section at Slamdance in 2019, and won a Jury award. He has directed television documentaries for BBC. He started his career as a photographer and has made two artist books, Khmer Din (2013) and End of Time (2016). He was invited to be an artist in residence in Japan by the Japan Foundation in 2013 and in Poland by the Polish Institute in 2016. He received the Getty Images Instagram Grant in 2016 for his work in the Jharia coal mines which were shown in his debut solo exhibition in 2018 titled, ‘Fire Continuum’ at gallery Tarq in Mumbai. His works are included in the permanent collection of the Alkazi Collection of Photography.