Sunday, 27 February 2011

Fazal Sheikh

Fazal Sheikh has an incredibly interesting and moving website. It tells us:
Fazal Sheikh is an artist who uses photographs to document people living in displaced and marginalized communities around the world. His principle medium is the portrait, although his work also encompasses personal narratives, found photographs, sound, and his own written texts. He works from the conviction that a portrait is, as far as possible, an act of mutual engagement, and only through a long-term commitment to a place and to a community can a meaningful series of photographs be made. His overall aim is to contribute to a wider understanding of these groups, to respect them as individuals and to counter the ignorance and prejudice that often attaches to them.
Each of his projects is collected and published and is exhibited internationally in galleries and museums. He also works closely with human rights organizations and believes in disseminating his work in forms that can be distributed as widely as possible and can be of use to the communities themselves.
Over the past decade, Fazal Sheikh has made all his projects widely available over the Internet. This website is, therefore, a record of his work to date and constitutes an online exhibition, a publishing resource, and an archive.

The portraits are intense and beautiful, but it's the texts accompanying them that tell some of the saddest and most difficult stories. Moksha and Ladli - the stories of widows in India - are heartbreaking to read.

But interesting as they are, it's these two images that I really wanted to post; both are haunting and speak to me of silence.
Both are taken at Vrindavan in India, where many of the widows, thrown out of their homes by their own families, seek refuge in the service of Krishna.


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