Women on the Edge of Time

Peggy Silverstein

Cigarette dealer in Jodhpur, India

2016 Oil on linen 12″(H) x 1 2″(W)

I spent three weeks with a fellow artist traveling in India. I stayed behind my camera lens the entire time. I went to India to see color and the color exceeded my expectations in every way. The Hindu people are as oriented to color as life revolves around our sun. The color combinations are unexpected and it is not unusual to see six women walking down the block entirely color coordinated. It is like watching a rainbow moving down the street. I photographed a man walking to bathe in the Ganges totally covered in different patterns of orange, sandals, skirt, top, shawl, turban, and throwing over one shoulder the brightest apple green bath towel. I shot a woman building a house, alone in a sandy surround. wearing a flowing orange and yellow sari that was stripped with bright purple. I took hundreds of photos.

I exhibited a series of women in Jodhpur who were selling innumerable kinds of merchandise. The Cigarette Dealer is dressed in a color that is a prominent color in her cigarette. cigar wrappers and boxes. She sat in the same lotus position all day, just turning her supported head. She was happy to pose for the photo. The saris symbolize modesty, humility. They are worn after marriage to show status, respect. The traditions of younger generations are threatened by Instagram and selfies. As women become educated, they move away from tradition, the color becomes reserved for special occasions. The women of extraordinary color in my Indian portraits were predominantly poor (?).

Video short: Peggy Silverstein

NYSWA: Peggy Silverstein