Amar Kanwar was born in New Delhi in 1964. In 1984, while he was studying history at the University of Delhi, two events occurred that impacted his subsequent philosophical and artistic development. On October 31, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by Sikh bodyguards, resulting in mass retaliatory violence against Sikhs in Delhi. Then, on December 3, a toxic gas leak at the Union Carbide pesticide plant, known as the Bhopal disaster, killed thousands of people and exposed hundreds of thousands more. These pivotal experiences instilled in Kanwar a commitment to social activism. Kanwar works strictly with documentary and archival images. The Torn First Pages (2004–08) is included in the Guggenheim collection, is a nineteen-channel video installation arranged in three parts that surrounds the viewer with examples of oppression by and opposition to the Burmese military junta. The Sovereign Forest (2012) was exhibited at Documenta 13, where Kanwar outlined the defining characteristics of his practice. Kanwar has had solo exhibitions at the Renaissance Society, Chicago (2003), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2007), Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris (2008), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008), Haus der Kunst, Munich (2008), Marian Goodman Gallery, New York (2010), and Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2012). He has participated in Documenta 11, 12, and 13 (2002, 2007, and 2012), Biennial Jogja XI, Indonesia (2011–12), and Being Singular Plural, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2012). A retrospective of his cinematic oeuvre was presented at the 5th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala in India (2012). He has been honored with the Golden Conch at the Mumbai International Film Festival (1998), Golden Spire Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival (1999), and Jury Award at the Film South Asia in Nepal (2001). Kanwar lives and works in New Delhi.