Women Survivor Activists (a working title) is a work-in-progress series of empowering formal portraits of women living in the shadows of the Bhopal Disaster site.
Working with anthropologist Apoorva Dixit, born in Bhopal but raised in Memphis by parents who had narrowly escaped the disaster, photographer Francesca Moore has begun collecting stories of some of the incredible women who are fighting to raise awareness of the disaster’s effects, and to make positive changes in their communities.
“The women tell incredible stories. Many of whom society only saw as burka-wearing housewives and home-makers living in slums around the disaster site; but they have stood united and strong in campaigning for justice in Bhopal. There are women who have twice marched 600 miles from Bhopal to the Government Headquarters in Delhi, and fasted when they arrived, just to demand clean water; women who, as children, took on the world’s biggest petrochemical giants by setting up ‘Children Against Dow-Carbide’; women who set up work with a stationery shop just to be able to fund a children’s clinic ‘The Chingari Trust’ that now treats thousands of children born with second and third generation birth-defects; women who set up the ‘International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal’.”
Using Francesca’ photographs with the collected stories, Women Survivor Activists will culminate with the release of a book. As activist survivor Hazra Bi says: “I believe we will have victory only when history remembers our fight. I want our stories printed in books, coming generations will continue the fight by reading and remembering us, they will make sure Bhopals don’t happen again.”
One of Francesca’s portraits from this series has already made the short list for an award: The Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award facilitated by FotoDocument and supported by Olympus, is granted annually to a professional woman photographer towards the initiation or completion of a compelling and cohesive documentary photo essay which addresses an important social, environmental, economic or cultural issue, whether local or global.
The image chosen for the exhibit, from the work in progress of this series, is Shehazadi, Women Survivor Activist, Bhopal. The shortlisted photographers’ work is on show in a group exhibition at: The After Nyne Gallery between the 24 – 30 July.
The After Nyne Gallery is situated at 10 Portland Road, W11 4LA
Opening hours daily: 10am – 6pm