MSF Photo Exhibition highlighting MSF’s work in India travels to Mumbai

Photo Credit: Shaiontoni Dasgupta

Noted actress Nandita Das and photographer Sami Siva at MSF’s photo exhibition ‘While We Looked Away’ that was on display at Piramal Art Gallery, NCPA, Mumbai 


The photo exhibition, which was displayed in Mumbai for the first time, featured photographs by the Canadian photographer of Indian origin Sami Siva.

Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) India’s 10 day photo exhibition ‘While We Looked Away’ concluded on a high note in Mumbai. The exhibition  was on display at the Piramal Art Gallery, National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point from February 2 to February 11.

The photo exhibition, which was displayed in Mumbai for the first time, featured photographs by the Canadian photographer of Indian origin Sami Siva.It documented the daily lives of (MSF) patients in India and the circumstances around their treatment.  

Martin Sloot, General Director, MSF India who inaugurated  the exhibition  said “There are many health issues within contemporary India but they often escape our attention because of other priorities. The photo exhibition aptly titled While We Looked Away is a unique way to spread awareness about the complicated issue of access to healthcare in the country.”

The photos gave visitors a sneak-peak into MSF’s ongoing work in India in providing primary health care, treating kala azar, malnutrition and also providing treatment for HIV/AIDS and drug-resistant tuberculosis.

 “The objective of this exhibition is to raise awareness about the difficulties that people in rural as well as urban India face in terms of access to healthcare and the role that MSF plays in these communities. Some of the photos are very personal and it’s important for me to share that with a wider audience,” said Sami Siva.  Iqbal,  a former drug resitant tuberculosis patient who completed his 2 year long treatment at MSF’s clinic in Mumbai shared his story during the inauguration. “I have just one message for all those who are suffering from DR-TB, don’t lose hope; don’t give up and adhere to the treatment,” he said. 

The exhibition also saw some support from well known Bollywood stars such as Nandita Das and Asif Basra. “Access to healthcare is something that we often take for granted because we can afford it. But for millions of people across the world and in India, that is far from reality. The photos displayed here have a story of their own. These are stories of pain, hope and the zeal to live. They also capture the stories of dedicated health workers who go that extra mile to provide care. It is definitely  a good way to bring back to the discussion board the very important issue of healthcare in India,” said Nandita Das.

Theatre and Bollywood actor, Asif Basra who was quite moved by the photos told MSF “This exhibition here is a window into the reality of the situation and only we can change it. I feel that this is my country and we are responsible for it. The staff of MSF is doing this and we need to do our bit too.” 

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