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Widows of Vrindavan

A moving exhibition of photography that records the lives of widows in the north of India opens in the Cathedral's...

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Widows of Vrindavan

Posted By : Amber Rawlings Tuesday 16th February 2016

A moving exhibition of photography that records the lives of widows in the north of India opens in the Cathedral's Morning Chapel this Saturday, 20 February.

Complimenting Sophie Ryder’s sculpture exhibition and designed to support the ‘relationships’ theme around which our Spring outreach and art programme is built, the show by photojournalist David Shaw shows nine pictures selected from a project shot in Vrindavan, India.

Situated just 100 miles south of Delhi, Vrindavan is a holy place in many prominent religions. According to Hindu scripture, it is the place where the deity Krishna spent his childhood. The city is also home to thousands of destitute widows who live a life of religious dedication and mourning after their husbands have died.

In much of our world - and for most of human history - the marriage relationship is a woman’s anchor in society; and to be a widow, to have suffered the breaking of that relationship by death, is to be vulnerable in terms of money and power.

Said Jacquiline Creswell, the exhibition’s curator and Cathedral Visual Arts Advisor:

“Relationships are about more than romance, or even friendship. Relationship is what happens whenever our lives overlap, so it is personal but also economic and political. This is why David Shaw’s searching images have such an important place among the exhibitions exploring the Cathedral’s theme of ‘relationships’.

“In the Hebrew and Christian scriptures the place of widows in society is a touchstone of its generosity, its compassion, its integrity. As we contemplate these pictures they quietly compel us to examine our own.”

Said David Shaw:

“Meeting the Widows of Vrindavan was a fascinating experience. Despite their hardship, many of these women have pulled together and show each other respect, solidarity and many have found new homes and purpose within this community."

This photography documents efforts by NGOs to develop skills and harness the market, shifting the emphasis from charity towards enabling widows to become economically self-sufficient.


Widows of Vrindavan by David Shaw runs until Sunday, 13 March.


Meet the artist!

Sunday 13 March, 14:00 - 15:00

A chance to hear David Shaw talk about his photographic work. Free admission. All welcome.


Any enquiries, please contact Marie Thomas m.thomas@salcath.co.uk 01722 555148