Spanish born photographer from Puertollano, Ciudad Real, is exposing her collection of photos taken in India called “Tierra de Sueños” (Land of Dreams) in Malaga this summer 2020. The outdoor exhibition located at Calle Alcazabilla was organised by Fundación La Caixa and Fundación Vicente Ferrer.
Cristina García Rodero is a famous photographer with an impressive background. Her work has been recognised worldwide including many award-winning photos: the World Press Photo (1993), National Photography Prize (1996) and Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts (2005) to name a few. She is also the first Spanish female photojournalist to work for the Magnum agency and author of the famous ‘España Oculta’ project in the 1970s and 1980s in rural parts of Spain. For this project, “Tierra de Sueños”, García focuses her attention on the women in India.
The photographer claims she has been mesmerised by India. “India is a country that wins you over, and the people, with their simplicity, won me over even more. Above all, you realise that it’s not difficult to relate to people,” says this legendary photographer. Tierra de Sueños (Land of Dreams) captures this love she had experienced and witnessed during her journey in India.
“One day some people from the Fundación La Caixa and Fundación Vicente Ferrer came to see if I would agree to do a book and an exhibition. I had been working in India since 2001 and didn’t need much convincing, because it seemed like another good way of helping the Fundación Vicente Ferrer through what I do, take photos,” says García. The legendary photographer spent a month and a half in India, capturing vivid moments of the everyday life of women in Anantapur, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, one of the most vulnerable in the country, where the Fundación Vicente Ferrer has been fighting poverty for decades.
The Fundación Vicente Ferrer has set-up a hospital in this particularly vulnerable area in India. “It attends hundreds of people every day, free of charge, and the work the Fundación does there is impressive,” says García. She adds: “Women are not valued. They are considered a burden on the family because the parents have to pay the dowry when they get married and they must give their daughter away. There have been many abortions due to this scenario. That’s why, in India, when a woman is pregnant, they never tell her the sex of her baby. This is their way of trying to prevent more abortions,” explains the photographer.
“When you’re there, it is impressive to see how the Fundación has gradually adapted to the needs of the population and tried to improve where it is most needed. For example, they have been building schools for children with different disabilities, and they have taught many women who have had polio a profession, providing them with some form of independence and freedom. When you’re there, you can also see how Vicente Ferrer managed to convince people to donate and help those most in need,” confirms the legendary photographer. “I went to seven Muslim, Christian and Hindu weddings and everywhere people were very generous to me.”
The Exhibition and A Book
García Rodero produced Tierra de Sueños, a book of 140 photos taken during her stay in Anantapur. 40 of these are on exhibition in the open air in Malaga.