Beloved Daughters Photographs by Fazal Sheikh

through Jan 31
10 Oct, 2009 - 31 Jan, 2010


Beloved Daughters unites two projects by photographer and activist Fazal Sheikh. The exhibition focuses on women from two specific communities in India. The first project, Moksha (Heaven), portrays the northern Indian city of Vrindavan, where dispossessed widows go to devote themselves to Krishna and seek moksha: final release from the cycle of death and rebirth. Sheikh's next project, Ladli (Beloved Daughter) portrays the lives of girls and young women in a society where, despite progressive laws, their human, civil, and economic rights are routinely suppressed.

The two projects combined in this powerful exhibition provide intimate and revealing portraits of the faces and words of the old and young -- widows of great age, mothers and their children --  that paint an eloquent picture of women's prospects in modern India, a nation of 1.1 billion people. Sheikh pairs intense camera portraits with testimony from his subjects, offering a voice to those who would otherwise remain anonymous, conveying stories that are both eye-opening and thought-provoking. 

When Moksha was published in 2005, Sheikh was awarded both a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant and the Henri Cartier-Bresson International Award. He immediately returned to India and undertook the work that became Ladli. The two projects were shown for the first time at the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation in Paris in the summer of 2007.