Photo South Asia: Biological to Biopolitical - by Ravi Agarwal

Can art and aesthetics spur change? Or what kind of aesthetic pursuits can prevent art from being complicit in the problem? As an artist and environmentalist, creative pursuits have been my way of negotiating a labyrinth of feelings and compelling realities. However, an artist has many paths to choose from. One could limit oneself to representing the moment through evocative forms or delve into the deeper underlying questions at stake. The resultant aesthetics reveal a political choice: it depends on the agency or compulsions one feels. Before one discusses what could be toxicity’s future aesthetics modes, it is important to outline an understanding of its conceptual contours.

Politics of a Planetary Future: An Interview with Ravi Agarwal by Caroline Picard

Based out of New Delhi, artist, curator, writer and activist, Ravi Agarwal works to unearth the complexity of humanity’s ecological and economic imagination, drawing connections between Europe and India, while comparing the implementation and impact of industrial methods.

LOST VOICES: Listening in the Anthropocene - by Ravi Agarwal

When visiting New Orleans, a context he was previously unfamiliar with but which through its complex relationship with a major river has parallels with his home of Delhi, artist and writer Ravi Agarwal found himself ruminating over two questions: how should I go there? How able am I to comprehend the context and what I might learn there? In this text, he reflects upon the shared experiences of those who live along the Mississippi in New Orleans and those who live by the Yamuna in Delhi, reciprocal relationships with nature, and the importance of listening in the Anthropocene.

The Art and Politics of Ecology in India: A Roundtable with Ravi Agarwal and Sanjay Kak — by TJ Demos

This roundtable discussion with artist and activist Ravi Agarwal and film-maker and photographer Sanjay Kak, moderated by T J Demos, explores the politics of ecology in the Indian context. The conversation considers, among other works, Kak’s film Words on Water (2002), which looks at the issue of big dams and their negative social-economic effects in the Narmada valley; and Agarwal’s photographic installation Extinction, which examines the disappearance of vultures on the subcontinent owing to the development of animal pharmaceuticals used to maximize milk production. The conversation critically examines the introduction of neoliberalism in the Indian economy and political context, and the anti-democratic activity of multinational corporations, in relation to the destruction of the natural environment, the growth of economic inequality, and the dispossession of tribal peoples via the governmental-corporate development of mega-dams and industrial mining projects. The discussion revolves around the aesthetic approaches artists have used in addressing such ecological emergencies.



Essay by artist, environmentalist and curator Ravi Agarwal that provided a background to the State of Nature in India conference in Mumbai, 2018—part of the Anthropocene India initiative in partnership with the Goethe-Institut. With planetary futures at stake, how might we examine notions of power and ethics in order to address the current ecological crisis?

THE POSSIBILITY OF ACTING IN CLIMATE CHANGE: A Gandhian Perspective — by Paulina Lopez and Ravi Agarwal (IIC Quarterly 2019/20)

THE POSSIBILITY OF ACTING IN CLIMATE CHANGE: A Gandhian Perspective — by Paulina Lopez and Ravi Agarwal (IIC Quarterly 2019/20)

Despite awareness of the serious impacts of climate change, why has the consumption of natural resources remained unabated?How can awareness of these facts and a lack of action coexist? The involvement of the capitalist system in climate change has been widely recognised (Barry, 2012; Storm, 2009). An imperative of economic growth, driven by capitalism, it has pushed people to consume more and more. As a result, natural resources are depleting and the climate system has already been severely affected. This system has also created inequalities and concentrations of wealth, besides being ecologically unsustainable. Yet, it is still in force.

Extinct?—An Art Intervention by Ravi Agarwal in Delhi Russell Stephens

Extinct?—An Art Intervention by Ravi Agarwal in Delhi Russell Stephens

Ravi Agarwal’s 2008 art piece Extinct? was located at two separate sites in New Delhi—the National Museum of Natural History on Barakhamba Road, and out-doors at a nearby busy, parklike traic roundabout, a few hundred meters from the museum grounds. Agarwal’s work was part of a larger group show entitled 48 Degrees Celsius Public.Art.Ecology, for which twenty-five artists—fifteen from India and ten from other countries—were enlisted to construct art pieces on the theme of the environment in urban public spaces within Delhi.

Ecology of Loss

Ecology of Loss

The following are occasional notes from October 12th, 2013 to August 17th, 2015 written by Ravi Agarwal. The exhibition Ecologies of Loss, curated by Marco Scotini at PAV, is the first Italian solo exhibition of the Indian artist, as part of a series investigating into the relationship between artistic practices and ecological thought in the Asian continent.

The Work of Freedom in a World of Images — by Pallavi Paul (Marg Vol. 70, Issue I)

The Work of Freedom in a World of Images — by Pallavi Paul (Marg Vol. 70, Issue I)

This article discusses the medium of documentary photography, looking closely at the work of Ravi Agarwal and his engagement with the changing nature of labour and environment under the impact of global capitalism. Agarwal’s photos are marked by their visceral quality, such that images cease to be static documents but give one a larger sense of the sound, smell and taste that define a person, scene or condition. Agarwal’s ability to shuffle between photography, video and installation and his research rooted in activism enables him to keep pushing the boundaries of the art world and of documentary.

On the Environment

1.Beyond Environmental Standards, from Techno-centric to People-centric Environmental Governance in Troubled Times. Sustainable Development and Governance in the Age of Extremes. SDPI. Pakistan 2006. Pp 240-252
2. Toxic Wastes: Growing Hazards. India Disaster Report
3. Corporate Social Responsibility: a critical perspective from India Ravi Agarwal . November 2003 (Dutch version published in Cosmetische Humanisering. Ed Tonja van den Ende, Harry Kunneman, Ireen Dubel, Humanistics University Press, Amsterdam, 2005)
5. Time to Tacke E Waste Civil Society Ravi Agarwal
6.Lets not torture the trees. Civil Society September 2009 at
7. Managing E Waste in India, August, 2015. Governance Now


The Work of Freedom in a World of Images- Pallavi Paul. MARG Documentary Now Issue Sep – Dec, 2018

Death by Water: Environmental Documentaries. A Brief Overview, Veena Hariharan: MARG Documentary Now Issue Sep – Dec, 2018

Else All Will be Still:Dematerialisation and Rematerialisation in the Ecological Photography of Ravi Agarwal. Maya Kovskaya. Take on Art. Issue 1. Volume 2. June 2016

The Art and Politics of Ecology in India: A Roundtable with Ravi Agarwal and Sanjay Kak, T.J Demos. Third Text, Vol 27. Issue 1, Jan 2013. 159-169

Emplacing and Excavating the City: Art Ecology and Public Space in Delhi. Christiane Brosius, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. Transcultural Studies 2015.1.

Public Art? Activating the Agoratic Condition : Cultural theorist, art critic and independent curator, Nancy Adajania ‘s paper presented at the symposium linked to 48 C the Public Art Ecology Festival, New Delhi, December 2008

Stories from the Theatre of Aura and Decay :Maya Kovskaya. Interview with Ravi Agarwal. Art Journal 41

Fotografie – ein transkultureller Verhandlungsraum Eine Analyse der Arbeiten von Ravi Agarwal (Delhi). Cathrine Bublatzky. Pp 115-131

Landscape as Evidence: Artist as Witness: Skye Arundhati Thomas.



1. Politics of a Planetary Future: Interview with Caroline Picard. Editor, Writer, Publisher
2.Interview by Camillia Boheimo, Curator
3. Interview by Jeebesh Bagchi, Artist, Raqs Media Collective
4. Interview by Kathry Myers. Prof. of Art, University of Connecticut.
5. Interview by Gayatri Sinha. Ed Critical Collective. (

On Water

Fluid Landscapes. Seminar 673. Sept. 2015. Pp 34-38
Water Manufactory

Kathryn Myers – Video Interview

Ravi Agarwal is a photographer and environmental activist living in New Delhi. Trained as an engineer, his work integrates aspects of science, ecology, urban space, the environment, and explorations of the documented self, described as personal ecologies. His early...

On the Yamuna Elbe Public.Art.Ecology project (2011)

On the Yamuna Elbe Public.Art.Ecology project (2011)

Published writings on the Yamuna Elbe Project, 2011 (Pl see under Curation)
1. Re-imaging the River. Seminar 657. may 2014. New Delhi Pp 27-31
2. Yamuna – Elbe. Contemporary Flows, Fluid Times. Art Fair 110

On Waste

1. E Waste Law: New Paradigm of Business as Usual. Economic and Political Weekly. June 23, 2012. Vol XLVII. No 25
2. On Waste