Arati Kumar Rao

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Arati Kumar Rao

Mumbai

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About Arati Kumar

Arati Kumar-Rao is an environmental photographer, writer, and artist, documenting the effects of changing landscapes in the Indian subcontinent on ecosystems and livelihoods. Arati uses art, imagery, and words to tell stories, and is currently working on her first book.

As an environmental photographer, writer and artist, Arati Kumar-Rao believes in Rainer Maria Rilke's words: “In [art] there is no measuring with time, a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing.” This is especially so when we tell stories of lands and landscapes, of lives lived and of the arcs ecosystems follow. In keeping with my promise to herself, Arati calls herself a "slow journalist." She criss-crosses the Indian sub-continent over time; watching, learning, waiting, documenting the state of its freshwater — rivers, lakes, aquifers and wetlands. She follows the fates of people, creatures, landscapes, and nation-states over seasons and over years, as they execute plans to use the land and the water, taking as much as a year for one story. Her documentary work can be seen here: http://peepli.org/project/freshwater/

Arati has had solo exhibitions in the Serendipity Arts Festival, 2017, in Goa, and in New Zealand in 2016, and has been exhibited as part of #Dysturb's Reformat Climate Change around the world. She is also a contributor to @EverydayExtinction and @EverydayClimateChange on Instagram and has been exhibited as part of the latter's shows around the world.

She was presented the inaugural Anupam Mishra Medal for excellence in River Journalism in 2017, and received an Honorable Mention for Outstanding Photojournalism 2015 by the Society For Environmental Journalists (SEJ) for her work documenting the Oil-spill in the Sundarbans.

Arati has been published in NationalGeographic.org, The Hindu, #Dysturb, The Guardian, BBC Outside Source, Hindustan Times, Mint, National Geographic Traveller India, Himal Magazine, Scroll.in, Sanctuary Asia, and Yahoo! Media, among others. She also co-teaches the National Geographic and Out of Eden Walk's Slow Journalism workshop with two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Paul Salopek, senior editor Prem Panicker, and ex-National Geographic writer and editor, Don Belt.

She splits her time between home in Bangalore and her second home in the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin, and is currently working on her first book.

Arati Kumar's Awards

  • Awarded the first Anupam Mishra Memorial Medal for excellence in river journalism by World Wildlife Fund India, INTACH, India Rivers Week, November 2017 in New Delhi, India

  • Outstanding Photojournalism 2015; Society For Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Award, Honourable Mention, for Oil-spill in the Sundarbans.

  • Exhibited at the Royal Geographical Society, London as part of the Environmental Photographer of the Year (EPOTY 2015) for Oil-spill In the Sundarbans.