Publisher: Göttingen, Germany: Steidl, 2005
Edition: 1st Edition
Condition: New / New
Item #: 110894
First edition, first printing. Both books are signed in black ink on the title page by Sheikh.
Moksha: Hardcover. Fine iridescent burnt-orange cloth-covered boards with title stamped in black on spine, with photographically illustrated dust jacket. Photographs and text (in English, Hindi and Bengali) by Fazal Sheikh. Additional text and paintings by the women of Vrindavan. Includes a laid-in illustrated booklet with the Hindi and Bengali text translations. Designed by Fazal Sheikh with Hanna Koller, Claas Möller. 280 pp., with 170 tritone plates beautifully printed on heavy matte paper in Germany by Steidl, Göttingen. The laid-in booklet is 52 pp., with 8 four-color plates. 10-5/8 x 9 inches. ISBN: 3865211259.
Ladli: Hardcover. Fine beige cloth-covered boards with title stamped in burgundy on spine, with photographically illustrated dust jacket. Photographs and text by Fazal Sheikh. Additional text by the women whose images appear in the book. Designed by Fazal Sheikh with Hanna Williamson Koller. 192 pp., with 95 tritone plates beautifully printed on heavy matte paper in Germany by Steidl, Göttingen, from scans by Katja Töpfer, Steidl's digital darkroom. 10-5/8 x 9 inches. ISBN: 3865213812.
New in New dust jacket (opened only for signature).
From the publisher (Mokshi): "For five hundred years the holy city of Vrindavan in northern India has been a haven for India's dispossessed widows. Cast out by their families and condemned by strict marital laws which deny them legal, economic and, in extreme cases, even human rights, they have made their way to the city to worship at its temples and live in its ashrams, surviving on charitable hand-outs or begging on the streets. In Vrindavan they worship the young god Krishna, who invades their dreams, helping them to cast off memories from their past life and prepare for a new and better life to come. Their ultimate dream is to reach Moksha--heaven--where they will find freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth and live surrounded by their gods forever. Fazal Sheikh's photographs capture the meditative mood of the city and his portraits of the widows convey their sense of acceptance of life nearing its end and a longing for what is to come. As in his previous books he spent time with his subjects, listening to their stories, many of which reveal the suffering caused by traditions that still govern Indian society. Through his depiction of the city and its inhabitants, Fazal Sheikh once again contributes to our knowledge and understanding of a community whose existence, to those who live outside it, remains closed."
From the publisher (Ladli): "For almost two decades now, Fazal Sheikh has been working among displaced people in East Africa, South America and Asia, making photographs and recording testimonies that bring home to us the realities of their lives. For his last book, Moksha, he went to Vrindavan, one of India's holy cities, where Hindu widows come to live out their last years. It was while listening to their stories that Sheikh began to comprehend the full extent to which women in India are the victims of religious and cultural codes that reduce many of them to little more than child-rearing servants. He returned to India to find out more from young women growing up in a society that, whatever economic advances it may boast, is still widely prejudiced against them. This book, Ladli--which in Hindi means 'beloved daughter'--is the result. The stories told here will come as a shock to many: the abortion of thousands of healthy fetuses every year because of their gender, the murder at birth of baby girls, the abduction and rape of adolescents forced into prostitution, the exploitation of child labor, the physical abuse of domestic workers and, worst of all, the murder of young women whose dowries, or performance as wives, does not match their husbands', or their husbands' families', expectations. Through a network of street-level activists, Sheikh builds up a picture of India that undermines its new role as a modern democracy. His portraits have a directness and articulacy that painfully reinforce the stories they tell. Some of the strongest voices in this book belong to older women, who have overcome personal tragedies and are determined to fight so that other women might avoid them. What does it say about a country that it mistreats its women? It is not for lack of legislation that women continue to be abused in India, but because the police, the judiciary and the government fail to enforce the laws made to protect them. How can such an ingrained system be reformed? To answer that, we need to understand more about its victims, and in this Fazal Sheikh is a reliable guide."
The richness of these prints intensifies the impact of Sheikh's subject matter, as Vince Aletti has written in The New Yorker: "At once descriptive and loving, and warm rather than cool, the photographs are extraordinarily moving portraits in the classic mode (think Julia Margaret Cameron and Irving Penn), whose aesthetic weight is multiplied by the power of their maker's concern."