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The second chapter in Arko Datto’s series focused on the ground zero effects on climate change in the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta is featured in this year’s PhEST International Festival of Photography on now until 1 November 2022 in Monopoli, Italy.

The Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta, comprising Bangladesh and West Bengal (India) is the world’s largest delta. It empties into the Bay of Bengal and is also home to the Sunderbans. Due to human induced climate change, three-fourths of the Delta risk destruction from anthropogenic stress factors. Rising sea levels and swelling of rivers have led to the submerging of many Sunderban islands while several more risk disappearance. This work explores the precarious existential and physical state of being in these lands that are gradually giving way to water, through an exploration at night time.

The annual festival PhEST curated by Arianna Rinaldo was born out of the need to give back a voice to the thousand identities that form the “sea within the lands”, the need to redefine a new, original imagery. The necessity is not to erase the distance that the Mediterranean creates among these identities, because this sea, in fact, creates them and blends them. The need is rather to stitch back together the divide between reality and its representation, beyond the theatre of truth, beyond that stage of the real that the West has often set up.

Arko Datto (1986) was born in India and studied physics and mathematics in Paris before he decided to study photography in Denmark. Today he lives and works in Kolkata, the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. His work has appeared in Time Magazine, National Geographic and Newsweek among others.