Roger Ballen to speak at DEKHO Forum by Chitr Sanstha on 12th September 2020, 3 PM IST,

Roger Ballen will be speaking about his work at the month-long web based Talk series in its Second Season organised by Chitr Sanstha Foundation. He will be joining the initiative in the second season post talks by other eminent photographers and artists such as Ryan Lobo, Aditya Arya, Akash Das, Waswo X Waswo, Ajay Rajgarhia of Wonderwall Art Gallery, Paul T Halliday of Goldsmiths, Univ of London, and Alka Pandey, Curator & Art Historian. The series, an initiative of Chitr Sanstha Foundation, the Non Profit for photography and visual Arts commenced the DEKHO Forum on August 16, and aims to put the spotlight on iconic photographers and visuals and inspire the visual world amidst coming back to life post the CoviD lockdown. Roger Ballen will be launching his new series, ROGER THE RAT during the talk apart from talking about his retrospective talk titled Ballenesque.

In this collection, Roger Ballen unveils a selection of uncanny photographs so completely different from his previous work, but replete with Ballenesque aesthetic. The photographs produced in Johannesburg, South Africa over a five-year period from 2015 to 2020, Ballen has created a quasi-person who lives an isolated life outside the mainstream of society surrounding himself with rats and mannequins that he collects from various locations. The photographs through the eyes of friendless and deranged, Roger the Rat constructs a fantasy world with many of the lifeless figures communicating with them as if they were alive. Speaking about his latest work, Roger Ballen says, “I cannot remember when I put this rat mask on for the first time…I am unsure whether I am a rat or human. Perhaps my mother was a rat and my father a human. I think I am a bit of each…”

About Roger Ballen

Roger Ballen’s photography career graph spans over a whopping forty years. His eclectic photos make him one of the most sought after photographic artists of the 21st century. His work challenges the viewer to unravel their mind’s perspective by forcing them to think, unnerving the viewer at times.

Born in New York, Roger Ballen has spent over 30 years of his life living and working as a geologist in the South African countryside with his camera in tow. During this time he was able to capture life in obscure towns, their empty streets during mid-day, and then went on to meet people and documented their life, their way of living via their houses and the objects within. Post 1994 he worked closer home in Johannesburg and has spent a lot of time creating his signature style of photography available to viewers in a simple square format in stark black and white frames. Not only this, he went on to develop ‘documentary fiction’ style of photos wherein he collaborated with the very people he first documented and cast them as actors in his photo series which resulted in the creation of powerful psychodramas. He keeps expanding his vision for his art by extending his visual language and taking it to newer dimensions. His work reflects his initial explorations in geology as well as his artististic capabilities of drawings which he includes in his visual language.

Ballen’s immense contribution to the world of photography can be seen not only in the form of still photography but also in the form of short films such as I Fink You Freeky, a collaborative film created for Die Antwoord in 2012. His creativity transcends mediums and takes the form of sculptures and installations, at Paris’ Musée de la Chasseet de la Nature (2017), Australia’s Sydney College of the Arts (2016), and at the Serlachius Museum in Finland (2015) among others. His installation at Les Rencontres d’Arles 2017 titled “House of the Ballenesque” was voted as one of the best exhibitions for 2017.

A large volume of his collected photography with extended commentary by Ballen titled Ballenesque Roger Ballen: A Retrospective was published in 2017 while Halle Saint Pierre in Paris held an exhibition of his works in 2019 titled The World According to Roger Ballen.


Photographer Udit Kulshrestha, cofounder at the Non Profit Chitr Sanstha Foundation, says, “its absolutely heartening to see the visual world coming together as a single entity. Today, we live in a world of visuals, and it becomes the duty of the torchbearers of the visual world to impart this visual literacy to the rest of the world.


Prashant Singh, the Co-founder based out of United Kingdom suggests, “Our Design Teams, Social Media teams and Video teams are from all over the globe. And DEKHO is been possible only due to the vision for which we are thankful to our audiences, our volunteers and most importantly, our speakers”