It was my first time in India. I arrived at a small village called Vedanthangal, that only appears in the guides for hosting a bird sanctuary. From the very first moment I felt overwhelmed by the beauty of the people, by their uninhibited gaze, by the colour of the clothes and the walls, by the unfathomable photogeny of this rural world. This tremendous visual excitement did not let me sleep. As a photographer I felt that I was constantly missing important moments.
Little by little, as the days went by, the anxiety subsided to let me see beyond. Behind the billboards there is a rural population that cultivates the lands of a few landowners. The water is contaminated and the children are malnourished. The majority belong to the lower class, the Dalits, which condemns them to live for life in situations of extreme poverty. However, I was shocked by each one's resilience, the ability to cope with dignity in their situation, often with a big smile, opening their houses, celebrating local festivals... Vedanthangal definitely made me think about what is really worth living in this life.
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Photography and words by Pep Ávila
Edited by Simone Rossi