‘Oh India’ is a fundraising travel photography project which developed through my desire to give back to the country that gave so much to me: India.
I spent 6 months travelling the far reaches of Northern India, from the rainforests and tea stops of Singalila National Park in West Bengal, to mountains and monasteries of the Nubra Valley in Ladakh. Inspired by my Dad’s photography from the 1980’s – which brought extraordinary lands and people into the living room of my childhood home – my work explores the relationships between people and their environments and the ever-pressing influence of globalisation and climate change.
The images transpired out of adoration and intrigue for what I witnessed. Combining the country’s tenderness and tranquility with its unrelenting vibrancy and chaos, they offer an honest insight into India’s individuality and I hope they encourage an appreciation and understanding of lives so very different from our own.
Upon my travels, I had the fortune to visit Kaikala Chetana, a community-run, volunteer-based education program in the rural Hooghly District of West Bengal, 50kms from Kolkata. Founded in 1996 by local man Somnath, who turned his family home into a centre for learning, the program now offers free education to over 800 children across 24 locations.
Inspired by Somnath’s inclusive vision and witnessing first-hand the communal value of his work, the ‘Oh India’ project was created to raise money through my photography and ensure the continuation of Kaikala Chetana. The project was first launched at a fundraiser exhibition in Sydney and has now been developed into a photobook following cyclone Amphan, which hit West Bengal during the peak of the COVID pandemic, destroying multiple homes as well as crops and agricultural equipment upon which the Kaikala village relies.