Overview participating exhibitions
Jharia was once a green forest in eastern India. That changed when coal was discovered in the ground in the late eighteenth century, and Jharia quickly became the main area for coal mining in India. Yet raging since 1916 are dozens of inextinguishable underground fires, which increasingly leave their traces above ground. Houses, temples, schools and mosques, places once teeming with life now fall victim to the flames. The heavy output of smoke has resulted in serious health problems for the local population. Plunderers travel around to blow up the mines and rob the coals. Ronny Sen captured the end of human existence in Jharia through the ruins of a community without a future, which nonetheless tries to survive in an apocalyptic landscape.
In November 2012, Ronny Sen went to the Cambodian city of Siem Reap, hired a bike for two dollars a day and rode around at night taking photographs. Without a preconceived plan, he photographed faces, animals and bodies, in an attempt to capture decisive moments as well as those in a state of suspended animation. He was attracted to people on the fringes of society who manage to survive and thus escape the predictable final destinations such as prison, the mental institution or death. The city’s dark side not only fascinated Ronny Sen, but it displayed strong similarities with the disillusioned feeling he had at the time.
Ronny Sen (India, 1986) has exhibited in India, the United Kingdom, Japan, Thailand, and France, among other places. His series Khmer Din appeared in 2013 in book form and was shown in 2015 in the Noorderlicht exhibition Pulse. Ronny Sen lives and works in Calcutta.