Home > Exhibitions > Notes From the Desert: Photographs by Gauri Gill

Notes From the Desert: Photographs by Gauri Gill

September 17, 2016–February 12, 2017

Since the late 1990s, Gauri Gill (born 1970) has been photographing marginalized communities in western Rajasthan, India. Often revisiting her extensive archive of negatives, collectively titled Notes from the Desert, Gill selects images and arranges them into different series focusing on a particular individual or idea. This exhibition showcases nearly sixty of her prints, including three powerful portraits from Balika Mela, named for a village fair for girls.

A striking portrait of Izmat, a key figure in Gill’s work in this remote desert region, anchors the selection of works on view. For more than a decade, Gill has visited and corresponded with Izmat and her two daughters. Her older daughter, Jannat, died at twenty-three. The daily life of these women inspired another series of fifty-two photographs and letters, one for each week of the year, and serves as a poignant memorial of Jannat’s short life. Collectively, the works convey the sense of intimacy and trust that are integral to Gill’s practice as a photographer.


Meet the Artist: Gauri Gill
September 17, 2–4 pm


Contemporary Art

Gauri Gill


Press Release
Press Images PDF

As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.