Published: 29th April 2020
Why you must check out India's first digital photo exhibition on street kids by photographer Vicky Roy
The exhibition was conducted by photographer Vicky Roy and NGO Save The Children. It began on April 20 and is being exhibited entirely online
Going to a gallery to see a photo exhibition is pretty much next to impossible right now. One may not get to experience it least for the next few weeks (or months, perhaps?) owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. But when from lectures to meetings, everything is held online, why can't one watch a photo exhibition online? This is exactly why on April 20, photographer Vicky Roy and the NGO Save The Children kickstarted India's first digital exhibition on the NGO's website. Vicky, who was once a ragpicker himself, has done this series on street children and their lives and called it #TheInvisibles.
While it was supposed to be exhibited in an art gallery in Delhi earlier this month, the organisers later took a call to host it as a digital exhibition, owing to the lockdown. "There was another motive behind this. You do not hear anything about the trouble that the children face during the lockdown. You only hear stories from the adults' perspective," says Vicky. "For instance, breakfast is the most important meal for a child. But mostly no child in an underprivileged home is provided breakfast," he adds.
Vicky recalls his years as a ragpicker in the streets of Delhi as an impoverished 11-year-old, and takes us through this photo series about the street children. "I ran away from my home in Kolkata after stealing some money from my uncle. The films always showed heroes who board the train to a big city to become rich. I thought that will happen to me too," he says. Vicky was later rescued by an NGO called Salaam Balak, learnt later on that he was good at clicking pictures, got a reasonable amount of training and exposure after which he went on to become an internationally acclaimed photographer.
He tells us how street children often remain 'invisible' to others. "We see them around us every day. But we conveniently choose to ignore them. They are visible, but we treat them like they're invisible," he says. Rightly enough, the series that he curated along with the NGO Save The Children is named #TheInvisibles. "I observed 30 children across four Indian states for a span of two years. This was for a project where we helped these kids get Aadhar cards and then get enrolled in school. This is a mandate these days in India, for them to achieve something in life. I photographed them in four different phases," says Vicky.