Through Aug 28th, 2010.
Gallery I/D has just announced its newest exhibit, Sundara: Faces of India. The show, featuring the portrait photography of Karolina Wojtasik will be open to the public through August 28th, 2010.
Sundara, which means “beautiful” in Sanskrit, features portraits taken by Wojtasik during a two-month sojourn in India. She traveled from the south up to Nepal. During her travels, she stayed with various families. “I was struck by their sense of welcoming and humanity, happily surprised at how they took me in for weeks at a time, providing food and shelter without question,” says Wojtasik. Most of the portraits in the exhibit are of the people who allowed Wojtasik into their inner sanctum.
The portraits are of men, women, and children. Simple people with extraordinary characteristics and sense of self. There are no street scenes here. No images of temples, beggars or prostitutes, the likes of which are displayed ubiquitously in other India-themed exhibits. Instead the subjects are shot from the chest up, standing before organic backgrounds that show the magnificence of an Indian sky or the rustic construction of the subjects’ dwellings.
The transcendence of poverty is evident in the exhibit’s images. That’s not to say that the living conditions are acceptable to Westerners, but more so, tolerable. Even Wojtasik was struck by the disparity of lifestyles between the East and the West. “Like many travelers who visit India from the West,” says Wojtasik, “it was a life-changing experience, particularly considering the capitalistically driven lifestyle that Westerners live – focused on money, commerce, things.”
Two months traveling through a continent, partaking, imbibing, and living with people from a vastly different culture will change a person, even a well-traveled photographer. And that’s what we have here: a stunning and earnest representation of humanity’s ability to adapt and persevere while keeping that little light inside each of us illuminated. It’s there in the subject’s eyes, from hazel to espresso brown and back: The little light. Embedded indeed.
Karolina Wojtasik was born in Warsaw, Poland. She studied at the University of Albany and then at the International Center of Photography. She presently resides in Brooklyn, NY. She shoots professionally within the world of advertising. Her commercial clients include MTV, A&E, The History Channel, Biography, American Movie Classics, WEtv, Fuse, and IFC. When time allows, Wojtasik continues on her personal journey of documentary work.
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