Article by Alice Thorson, Kansas City Star:
If you were appalled by the treatment of Indian children portrayed in the hit movie “Slumdog Millionaire,” a new photography exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art will break your heart.
Called “Beloved Daughters: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh,” the exhibit presents an album of pain.
It brings viewers face to face with victims of backward practices and attitudes that endure in parts of India, despite the country’s image as a modern democracy.
In some sectors of Indian society, girls are seen as a burden — mainly because of the dowry their families must produce when they marry — and the traditional preference for boy children has led to unspeakable abuses.
Sheikh, an award-winning activist photographer, worked with social-service agencies and street-level activists to get to know his subjects as individuals.
His black-and-white portraits of infants, girls and women come with text panels that tell their stories.
April Watson, associate curator of photography at the Nelson, admires Sheikh’s willingness to spend time with his subjects.