JOHAN WILKEMY JOURNEY TO VARANASI INDIA
In my journey to Varanasi, India, I looked for the Importance of water In the lives of the people living on the River Ganges.
The river originates in the Himalayas and snakes through many cities and towns, where it is called `Ganga Maa` ( Mother God ). The exhibition demonstrates the essence of water in the lives of the inhabitants of Varanasi. Water is an integral part of the spiritual journey of the inhabitants. The inhabitants of the city go to the river 3 times a day to wash and drink some of the holy water. With their final journey, their bodies are cremated on the steps of a temple on the banks of the Ganges and the remains sent down the river to be finally cleansed. Guru is a fascinating visual journey of man’s need to be redeemed from guilt and cleansed from sin.
I decided on travelling to Varanasi because it is the holiest if cities in India, people from all over India travel there to spend their last days. With temperatures of 40 – 45 deg C and very high humidity, it was a challenge walking for 12 hrs per day in an attempt to finish shooting the exhibition in 6 days. The people are fascinating and extremely committed to their beliefs. The poverty and stench in some areas are overwhelming and took some getting used to. The trip was a humbling experience and I returned with a lot of food for thought. All the pics were shot on a Canon 5D and an exhibition of 65 pictures was produced and exhibited at various galleries around the country.