Acid attack survivor Laxmi in a photograph, Breathing Freedom, to be displayed at an upcoming exhibition in the city.(Niraj Gera)
Acid attack survivor Laxmi in a photograph, Breathing Freedom, to be displayed at an upcoming exhibition in the city.(Niraj Gera)

This photo exhibition on acid attack survivors is an ode to their courage

Photographer Niraj Gera’s work showcases 40 pictures of seven acid attack survivors, at an exhibition titled Sacred Transformations, in Delhi.
Hindustan Times | By Henna Rakheja, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 11, 2017 05:08 PM IST

‘Can you please cover your face with your shawl, my daughter is getting scared seeing you’?’ This is what a co-passenger told the acid attack survivor Neetu when she was travelling in a shared auto,” says Niraj Gera, who has pictorially narrated the transformation of acid attack survivors into confident firebrands through his lens.

A photograph titled His Token Of Love. (Niraj Gera)
A photograph titled His Token Of Love. (Niraj Gera)

About 40 photographs of seven girls will be displayed at an upcoming exhibition, Sacred Transformations, in the city. “The shoots took me two-and-a-half years. I was inspired to shoot the survivors when I attended a protest by them at Jantar Mantar, back in 2014. They were protesting against the open sale of acid, as well as demanding jobs. I first met them at the Parliament Street police station. I saw most of the survivors behind bars. They were taken in custody for protesting. And one of them, sitting outside, shared her story with me. The protest of these survivors made me do something for their social acceptance,” says Gera.

Dressed up as models, the girls exude grace and poise in the photographs. Some sway their hair while others blow glitter in the camera lens. “The way in which Niraj was clicking pictures, he inspired me. He says he was inspired seeing us, but I found inspiration in his work,” says Laxmi, an acid attack survivor, and activist.

A photograph titled Make A Wish. (Niraj Gera)
A photograph titled Make A Wish. (Niraj Gera)

The lensman says that he invested himself in this project, to try and bring a change in the lives of acid attack survivors. “I am an artist and a social worker and wanted to portray their emotions through my work,” says Gera.

A digitally enhanced photographed titled Enflamed Uproar. (Niraj Gera)
A digitally enhanced photographed titled Enflamed Uproar. (Niraj Gera)

He says that it isn’t just females who have survived acid attacks, but even men. “I have even met a boy who was an acid attack survivor. I wanted to take his pictures, too, and contacted him, but I guess he wasn’t comfortable being clicked. The freedom and inner confidence of the acid attack survivors is something that can come through only after social acceptance,” adds Gera.

CATCH IT LIVE

What: Sacred Transformations

Where: Arpana Caur Gallery, August Kranti Marg

On till: March 12

Timings: 11am to 7pm

Nearest Metro Station: Green Park on Yellow Line

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