Lalit Kala Akademi hosts an eight-day exhibition on family planning from today

To commemorate its 60 anniversary, the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s South Asia Regional Office is hosting an eight-day photo exhibition on the theme “We are Family” at Lalit Kala Akademi here beginning this Friday.

Founded in Bombay in 1952 by eight visionaries, IPPF is working on the issue of sexual and reproductive health and rights of the downtrodden, marginalised, socially excluded and underserved people around the world, especially in South Asia.

Describing the theme of the exhibition as wonderful, noted artist Anjolie Ela Menon, who will inaugurate the exhibition on Friday, says: “I wholeheartedly support this exhibition because it raises an important issue. We need the Government to go in for planned parenthood, the absence of which is one of the reasons why we are the lowest in nutrition. We have a burgeoning population yet there is so little facility in this area. We need private parties to work in this area. It is important that people get help in planning their families.”

Ms. Menon, who works in Delhi’s Nizamuddin Basti, says people there are living in appalling conditions. “They badly need help.”

According to IPPF, SAR Director for Resource Mobilisation Anindit Roy Choudhary, the exhibition is a unique photo documentation of issues relating to trans-genders, men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers, people afflicted with HIV and underserved women and girls.

“The idea is to put together all the nine countries as a family as these issues affect people transcending geographical boundaries. For the first time, we are hosting the exhibition in Delhi and it will bring into sharp focus the plight of these people as well as their determination to move forward. Sexual rights are not gender-specific. They affect communities of MSM, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender and sex workers, too.”

Noting that the Government needs to play a proactive role in this significant issue, he says the exhibition will create public awareness about sexual and reproductive rights. “More than words and reports, pictures reveal a lot. We collaborate with international NGOs to work on the ground but the Government has a far bigger arm to reach the marginalised communities. We have taken pictures of the poorest of the poor in Kolkata, South India and other parts of the country. Our six photographers have travelled to nine countries where they have taken about 150 pictures. They were accompanied by our team.”

Across nine countries in the South Asia Region -- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka -- a massive photo documentation project was undertaken. Six reputed photographers from South Asia Region were commissioned.

Prashant Panjiar, an accomplished documentary photographer, has shot in India and Sri Lanka. Andre Jeanpierre Fanthome, the youngest National Award-winning photographer, has captured images in Bhutan and Maldives. He did the second leg of photography in Sri Lanka.

A photo-journalist by profession, Mustafa Quraishi has worked in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan and Nepal.

Peter Caton, a versatile photographer, has covered a rich diversity of subjects in Bangladesh and India. Mahdiyeh Mirhabibi, the solitary woman photographer from Iran, and Asad Zaidi, a well-established documentary photographer from Pakistan, are the other two photographers. They have tried to capture the work of IPPF’s member-associations through visually-appealing imagery which highlights the impact of work undertaken in the region.

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