The spouted brass pot Chandra holds is of the sort used throughout Rajasthan to dispense free water from small roadside shacks, which are provided by the government and various temples to urban residents during the hot season. It is nearly always an older woman who sits in these shacks; and she fills the cupped hands of passersby through a small arched opening in the slit bamboo. But Chandra is young, and in a setting quite different. She stands near, and somewhat above, the domes of ancient chhatris that are reminiscent of a deserted palace or a grouping of cenotaphs. Behind her too is foliage that hints at both a garden-like setting and also the dryness of the season, and just behind her sits yet another brass pot, one that may or may not be filled with water. The richness of her handmade dress speaks of a kind of village opulence. There is both dryness and abundance in this image, a hint of fertile lands that hold both struggles and secrets. Is Chandra spilling intentionally? Or has she been distracted by the viewer? Or both? The look of her eyes pulls us in.
About the artist
Waswo X. Waswo was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the U.S.A. He studied at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, The Milwaukee Center for Photography, and Studio Marangoni, The Centre for Contemporary Photography in Florence, Italy. His books, India Poems: The Photographs, published by Gallerie Publishers in 2006, and Men of Rajasthan, published by Serindia Contemporary in 2011, have been available worldwide. The artist has lived and travelled in India for over 12 years and he has made his home in Udaipur, Rajasthan, for the past eight. There he collaborates with a variety of local artists including the photo hand-colourist Rajesh Soni. He has also produced a series of autobiographical miniature paintings in collaboration with the artist R. Vijay.