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

We are excited to reopen the Freer in October 2017, following a renovation to allow us to better present our art and serve our visitors. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.