A lens on Mental Health - Part I

Panel Discussion

Date: Oct 17, 2020
Time: 04:00 pm - 06:30 pm IST
Venue: Zoom


Join us for the first of a two-part discussion centered around different facets of mental health. The panellists will share about their experiences documenting and understanding of how stigma and awareness of mental health varies across different communities. 


1/ Arun Vijai Mathavan

2/ Chandan Gomes

3/ Robin Hammond

4/ Ronny Sen

5/ Sindhuja Parthasarathy


Arun Vijai Mathavan is a graduate from National Institute of Design, India. Member of PEP Collective. He is keenly interested in documentary photography and exploring issues of spaces with its relation to the environment. Presently he is an independent photographer based in Chennai, Working on long term projects.

“In India, those classified as “untouchables” or “Dalits” have been forced to handle the dead for centuries. The manner in which they are compelled to do this in modern, state-run hospitals have gone unnoticed and undocumented. Tasked with endowing dignity on the dead, they face a social death.” - Arun Vijai Mathavan

Chandan Gomes has studied Philosophy at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi (2009). Emotional and intellectual anxieties drive him as an artist. He has won numerous awards and fellowships and has been exhibited widely. His most recent exhibitions were held at MMAG Foundation, Amman (2020), Landskrona Museum (2019) and Rubenstein Arts Centre (2019). He was also the artist in residence at Centre for Documentary Studies, Duke University (2019). He is currently working on his first film and dreams of opening a stationery shop one day. 

Robin Hammond has dedicated his career to amplifying narratives of marginalised groups through long term photographic projects. His work on discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community around the world, ‘Where Love Is Illegal’, has become a popular social media campaign. His work on mental health conditions and neurological disorders, In My World, started in 2011 and has taken him to twenty countries. It has been used to influence governments and corporations to consider the rights of some of the most vulnerable members on the planet. Robin is the founder of Witness Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing human rights through visual storytelling.

"People living with mental health conditions are often the most marginalised. As storytellers with privilege we have a responsibility to highlight abuse and exclusion where it exists. But we must also support people to tell their own stories, to amplify their voices, so that they might be able to take control of the narratives of their lives." - Robin Hammond

Ronny Sen is a film director, writer and photographer based in Calcutta. His debut feature film Cat Sticks world premiered in the competition section at Slamdance in 2019 where it won a Jury Award. He has previously made television documentaries for the BBC. He won the Getty Instagram Grant in 2016 and has made two photo books, Khmer Din (2013) and End of Time (2016). He is represented by gallery Tarq in Mumbai and his works are in the permanent collection of Alkazi Collection of Photography.

“Indian society sees drug use and addiction as a moral crisis, not as the public-health issue that it really is. If addiction is defined and acknowledged as illness, the ostracisation, stigma and the shame attached to it will naturally dissipate.“ - Ronny Sen

Sindhuja Parthasarathy is an award winning humanitarian photojournalist based out of Chennai,India. The core of her work explores gender equity, indigenous human rights issues and environment sustainability. As a psychologist, she is passionate about exploring the impact of human rights violations on psychological-well being.

“By exploring the multifaceted and complex socio-cultural, spiritual, political and other contextual factors that influence psychological distress in Kashmir, the hope is to bring focus back to a human rights-based approach to recognizing and supporting people with mental health issues.” - Sindhuja Parthasarathy

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