The operating room in a government run maternity hospital in rural Maharashtra, India.

Anshika Varma

New Delhi, INDIA

Anshika Varma is a photographer, editor and curator with an interest in personal, collective and mythical histories. Combining her curiosity to study cultural and social evolution with storytelling, her work often looks at the emotional connection between the individual and their environment. With photography and book-making, she is interested in exploring the intricate relationship between memory and object as markers of one’s identity. She is the Founder of Offset Projects, an initiative that works to create channels of engagement in photography and book-making through workshops, residencies, artist talks, pop-up reading rooms and collaborative exercises in publishing. Anshika has previously worked in editorial and journalism as a features and chief photographer for national political and cultural magazines in India. She continues to work as a freelancer with news organisations such as Bloomberg and The Quint and works with collaborations in publications with the development sector. Anshika’s works and curations have been shown at Goa Photo (2019 and 2017), Photo Kathmandu (2018), Chennai Photo Biennale (2016, 2019), Angkor Photo Festival (2018), Tbilsi Night of Photography (2018), Kochi Biennale (2014), New York Biennale for Contemporary Art (2013), India Art Fair (2012, 2013) and the Florence Biennial (2009) and published by various national and international media. Anshika is a strong believer in the power behind inclusive education and has conducted art therapy programs for children from challenging social and economic strata, as a mentor for children of Anjali House, Cambodia (2013-2018) , Clicking Together (Punjab and Chennai, 2017) and the Delhi Photo Festival (2013-2015).

Dai, a traditional midwife in Jharkhand, is called upon to deliver a baby amidst attempts to take the expectant mother to a hospital. The treatments and rituals of their oral knowledge are slowly being lost as state and national attempts to institutionalize birthing increase.

"A successful image is one where you, as a photographer, have remained honest to yourself, your intentions, to the subject and the story you choose to tell through them. The image should be able to offer a space for a response or a reflection from its audience."

Anshika Varma

The maternity wards in most rural districts of Maharashtra are empty. Although beds might be available and free for many, corrupt officials often demand high bribes from the villagers for access to these.
Everyday scenes at Alcott Kuppam, a fisherman’s village in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Women pray at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.
Two women enjoy an evening chat at the open grounds in front of the New Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.
Quiet moments while Aunty Dalilah prepares a special feast in her kitchen on the day of Our Lady at her home in Gaonkarvaddoo, Goa.