We are delighted to announce that French photographer Isabeau De Rouffignac’s exhibition on Bhopal, ‘Saris for Memory’, is currently being featured in the Indian Photo Festival! ‘Saris for Memory’ features stunning images of Bhopali women dressed in saris printed with newspaper clippings and images of the gas disaster, and is currently on display on the gates of the KBR park in Hyderabad until December 12th. Here is Isabeau’s description of her exhibition, as featured on the Indian Photo Festival website:
‘Was it necessary to lay down in front of them these saris that I created, printed with newspaper clippings relating this ominous night of December 1984 when a deadly gas escaped from the chemical plant of Union Carbide, with medical imagery where we guess the silent ravages, with the skeleton of the factory standing like a frozen statue which reminds us that the page is not yet turned? They unfolded them, claimed them, draped themselves in them and some looked at me and others preferred to offer their backs to me, just their silhouette like a frozen image.
I heard cries of anger and resigned silences.
I took the time.
They accepted my idea. Have them pose in these printed saris. They accepted Bhopal sticking a little more to their skin. Some are tireless fighters. They claim compensation for the 3,500 who died the first night of the disaster, 8,000 within the next two weeks (according to estimates) and for the 50,000 patients adding up over the years. And the number is still growing.
They take to the streets to demand that the authorities clean up the site which continues to pollute. They are suffering too, but do not speak about it much because they have to move forward.
Whether directly or indirectly affected, their dignity moved me. They remain women, and that is also what the coloured embroidery bordering the saris says. I wanted these movements in the drapes and their gaze, strong and sweet at the same time to challenge us and stand out on these images reminding us of what was Bhopal and what this Indian city is today, whose name is forever linked to a disaster which could have been avoided. So yes, I had to lay down these saris in front of them.’