Tonight we saw an incredible photography exhibition at the Factory Cafe. It was called “Life & Death Between Chai”, and it featured the works of three Durban photographers – Gareth Bright, Caitlin Smith, and Kevin Goss-Ross – who documented the unbelievable sights they witnessed while in India. The photos ranged from large color landscapes to smaller black and white prints featuring comments made by the photographer. Furthermore, each image depicted varying states of being that included fear, holiness, poverty, survival, beauty, pain, honor, hope, and childlike wonder.
One of my favorite images was a Fuji Crystal Archive print that depicted a young Indian child kissing the forehead of a visitor. The caption read: “Namaste means, as defined by Mahatma Gandhi…’I honor the place within you where the entire universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.’ That is what this photograph means to me.”
I also really appreciated the images that included the photographer’s comments written in cursive on the black-and-white photos. In one photo of a young man washing garments in the river, he writes, “I was born with the same capacity for success as you, but my life will be spent doing the laundry for others. That is just how it will always be here.” Possibly my favorite photo in the series featured a young man in the middle of a street with dark liquids pouring down the path. The title read “Death, Life, Shit, & Spice”. It was incredible to see how the individuals depicted in the photos led such simple yet passionate lives. In essence, they live, work, eat, play, and eventually die on these same streets throughout the generations.
As a lovely musical component to the event, we listened to the tunes of Matt Vend and the Tender Ten, a solo project with a wonderfully eclectic sound. Matt plays a variety of instruments that include but are not limited to the harmonica, guitar, bass, and melodica. It was great to hear the unique sound of an artist who travels the world and has gained quite a large following not only in South Africa, but also in parts of Thailand and Vietnam!