COVID-19: Famous photographers support Indian migrant-workers

An international group of photographers has launched an initiative called Prints for India to raise funds to aid some of those in India hardest hit by the strict lockdown regulations put in place in reaction to the current Covid-19 crisis. The United Nations has expressed worries over the plight of Indian migrant workers during the lockdown.

The prints on sale are a carefully curated selection of imagery and include photographs shot in India by world-famous and emerging photographers, including members of Magnum Photos Martin Parr and Sohrab Hura. Other photographers who have donated work to the cause include Ed Kashi, Ken Hermann, Andrea Bruce, and contemporary Indian photographers Sanjit Das, Soham Gupta, Srivinas Kuruganti and Swarat Ghosh.

The photographers who took the initiative had participated in a workshop led by Martin Parr, the former President of Magnum Photos International in India in January this year.

“Four of us photographers who had participated in the work-shop in Dehli met on Skype and decided we wanted to try to make a difference and sell some prints for India,” Sigga Marrow told UNRIC. Sigga is an Icelandic photographer who is behind the initiative with colleagues from the UK, Germany and South-Africa.

“We had just a vague idea about the Coronavirus in January, but since then the situation has drastically deteriorated.”

The workers | © Vasantha Yogananthan - Prints for India
© Vasantha Yogananthan – Prints for India

The Prints for India is a photographic print sale showcasing work shot in India and seen through the eyes of a diverse collective of photographers. The fundraiser will run for four weeks with sales closing on the 22nd of May 2020. All prints are priced at £80.

Throughout the period, there will be flash sales with special guest photographers who have kindly donated their work for the cause.


Millions trapped

The lockdown implemented in India has created a humanitarian crisis overnight, with millions of day labourers and migrant workers suddenly trapped with no resources or income. The United Nations Human Rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, has expressed her distress over the plight of millions of internal migrants affected by the lockdown in India.

“It is important to ensure that measures in response to the COVID-19 are neither applied in a discriminatory manner nor exacerbate existing inequalities and vulnerabilities,” Ms. Bachelet said in a statement.

Mumbai Residential Tower, 2007 © Ed Kashi - Prints for India
© Ed Kashi – Prints for India

Following the announcement of the lockdown to limit the spread of COVID-19, many impoverished migrants were left without work and unable to pay for their rent and food. Without the ability to sustain themselves in urban centres and in light of the almost complete shutdown of public transportation, hundreds of thousands of migrant men, women and children were forced to walk hundreds of kilometres trying to reach their villages and home states. Some have died making the journey.

“Our friend photojournalist Ravi Mishra has been doing amazing work on his own, supplying ration kits to villagers affected by the lockdown. Seeing his incredible work really motivated us and we are now partnering with GOONJ, a well-established Indian NGO that is currently running a pan-Indian mission called Rahat Covid-19 aiding daily wagers, migrant workers and the most vulnerable affected by the Covid-19 lockdown,” Sigga Marrow said. “We are really happy that we now have established an elite team of photographers who have joined us and given their works free-of-charge for this worthy cause.”

Already reactions have surpassed the expectations of the organizers for the first week and hopefully, they will be able to generate even more when world-famous photographer Martin Parr joins as the featured photographer for the week starting 1 May replacing his Magnum colleague, Indian photographer Sohrab Hura.

Float Mumbai © Marc Ressang - Prints for India
© Marc Ressang – Prints for India


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