Exhibition “On The Shores of Ganga”

When: from October 22nd to November 30th 2014

Where: Kávovarna in passage Lucerna, Štěpánská 61, Prague 1

Formal opening: October 22nd at 5pm - Invitation.

Photographer: Vojtěch Vlk – www.vojtechvlk.com


It has been more than 30 years since Vojtěch Vlk got his very first photo camera. Since then, he has gathered materials for many solo and group exhibitions in the Czech Republic and also abroad. Wide range of various themes proofs his extraordinary scale. Pictures of famous personalities take turn with images from distant lands, models and commercial photographs alternate with pictures of humanitarian projects from Rwanda, Ukraine or India.

Documents, photo-essays about people living out of the main-stream, communities and individuals searching for higher knowledge have been in focus of Votěch Vlk’s interest since the beginning of his career. Let’s remind his photo collection from Israel and Palestine, “Capuchins” collection, showing life of capuchins priests on Prague Loreto. Document about charity work of Boromejky nuns. Photo book from Premonstratensian monastery in Innsbruck or photo report showing the Eastern rituals from Philippines to Mexico. It is the diversity and unlimited possibility of creativity offered by photograph as a medium, what fascinates Vojtěch on his work. His main interest is portrait photography – various famous personalities or people, whose existence we only suppose.

Vojtěch shot his “Saint men of Varanasi” cycle in India in spring 2014 and it was not his first visit to this place. He met the saint men during his first visit to Varanasi and was so fascinated by the mysticism and colourfulness of this place; he decided to dedicate separate collection to the saint men, Sadhus, Babas, pilgrims and beggars. Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It has been the pilgrimage spot for hinduists for thousands of years. In Hinduism, it is believed that bathing in the river Ganga causes the remission of sins and facilitates the attainment of salvation or nirvana.

Varanasi was named after Varuna and Assi rivers, which run into the Ganga River here. Winding streets, ubiquitous cows and dogs, hundreds of small temples and the air full of scent and noise coming from Ganga rives creates an amazing collage, which stands for five thousand years of history of this townThe centres of all are Ghats – wide staircases, which lead from the temples, located on steep banks, into Ganga River. With the sunrise, ritual bathing of all locals and pilgrims starts, celebrations to honour the river Ganga start with sunset. Life in Ghats does not stop even during the day. There are the pilgrims from whole of India heading there, Brahms sit on their sennets and bless the incomers. Saint men, the main theme of this project, roam around and beg for alms or sit in their simple ashrams, meditating.

The atmosphere of this holies city of Hinduism and one of the holiest cities of Buddhism changes the perception of each visitor. Life gains new dimensions here and to document all stories happening here cannot be done by one person only. Hundreds of pages could be written also about the saint men, who decided to live spiritual, not secular life. Vojtěch Vlk shows their lives through his camera, so we now let his photographs talk themselves.

David Procházka