Raghu Rai photography exhibition in Durham

‘Remembering Bhopal: 30 Years Of Struggle For Justice And Life With Dignity: Durham supporters and the Bhopal Medical Appeal present a Photo Exhibition of multi-award-winning Magnum photographer Raghu Rai’s pictures following the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster.

Durham Raghu Rai website poster

This exhibition commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Disaster in India. The exhibition focuses on multi-award-winning Magnum photographer Raghu Rai’s pictures following the Bhopal Gas Disaster on 2–3 December 1984. Rai was the first photographer to capture images of the devastation caused by a gas leak in the Union Carbide chemical plant, located in one of the poorest parts of the city.

Half a million people were exposed to the gas and 25,000 have died to date as a result. Hundreds of thousands have also experienced chronic health problems and disabilities in the decades following the explosion. The American corporation – which is now a subsidiary of Dow Chemical – has never accepted full responsibility for the disaster, and has evaded justice in the Indian courts. 30 years on, the site of the abandoned factory has still not been cleaned up, and the groundwater supply in Bhopal remains poisoned.

Rai’s photography draws attention to the emotional, physical, and political fallout of this catastrophe, and the struggles of people to resume life in a toxic environment. Arriving in Bhopal on 3 December 1984, shortly after the gas leak, Rai witnessed the devastation as thousands of people fled from the factory site, seeking treatment in hospitals, and thousands more were buried and cremated in mass graves. Rai’s most famous photograph, ‘Burial of an Unknown Child’, captured a moment of tenderness amid the chaos and terror. This image received a World Press Photo Award and has become the identifying image of the Bhopal Medical Appeal.

Since 1984, Rai has been committed to conveying to the world the damage and trauma caused by corporate negligence in Bhopal. The images you see in this exhibition combine original photographs from the days following the leak with those taken on a return visit to the city. It remains one of the most powerful forms of testimony to the continuing story of the Bhopal disaster.

The photo-exhibits are organised in three sections:

“That Night”

On December 2nd, a Union Carbide pesticide plant leaks 40 tonnes of toxic gas into the air, impacting the lives of those surrounding the factory for decades to come…

“Second Disaster” 

Government neglect and corporate crime contribute to a myriad of injustices in Bhopal: lack of provision of appropriate healthcare, inability provide survivors with sufficient compensation and the refusal to clean up the toxic factory grounds, leading to widespread and lethal water contamination….

Ongoing Struggle” 

Bhopali’s refuse to be victims. Their activist campaign for justice for themselves and their environment goes from strength to strength…


Raghu Rai’s Pictures will also be featuring at other future exhibits including:

Hull City Hall, Queen Victoria Square, Hull HU1 3RQ, April 25th – Presented by Hull and East Riding Hindu Cultural Association, York Interfaith Group and Bhopal Medical Appeal , as part of the Indian Mela.


Walmgate, York, North Yorkshire YO1 9TL, June 13th  (Tel: 01904 632220)  – presented by York Interfaith Group, National Centre for Early Music and Bhopal Medical Appeal, as part of a performance of Kathakali Dance

Girl with candle Bhopal

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Your money helps us provide free medical care to the survivors of the continuing disaster in Bhopal. We are funded almost exclusively by the generosity of ordinary people around the world.

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