Gauri Gill (b. 1970) earned a BFA in Applied Art from the Delhi College of Art in India, a BFA in Photography from Parsons School of Design in NYC, and an MFA in Art from Stanford University in California. She has been exhibiting within India and internationally since the early 2000s and has participated in museum shows across the world – including the Whitechapel Gallery, London, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and the National Gallery of Art, Warsaw. Recent solo shows include Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, the Experimenter Gallery, Kolkata and the Wiener Library, London. Her work can be found in the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art in Washington DC, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and Fotomuseum, Winterthur in Switzerland, among other prestigious collections. In 2011 she was awarded the Grange Prize, Canada’s foremost award for photography. Her book Balika Mela was published by Edition Patrick Frey in 2012.
Gill’s practice is complex because it contains several lines of pursuit. These include her more than a decade-long study of marginalised communities in rural Rajasthan – this includes the series Notes from the Desert, Balika Mela, the Birth Series and Ruined Rainbow Pictures. She has repeatedly explored human displacement and individual agency against dominant forces - ‘the stubborn resistance of memory’ - in series such as The Americans, What Remains - and most recently, in her collaboration with a Warli folk artist in Fields of Sight. Series such as the 1984 notebooks highlight her repeated practice of collaboration and ‘active listening’ which uses the photograph as a memory practice that asserts that the moment of photographic capture can prevent closure of stories of violence and suffering. Working in both black and white and colour, Gill’s work addresses the twinned Indian identity markers of class and community as determinants of mobility and social behaviour. In her work, there is empathy, surprise, subversive humor, and a human concern over issues of survival.