Cuny Janssen, India, Whatever Works, 2000, 56 x 48 cm, ed. of 6
7 — 15 Nov 2020
Whatever Works
Whatever Works

Twenty years ago I set out to photograph children all around the world. My first trip was to the south of India.
I started in the province of Tamil Nadu, first living in a Church Women Centre in the city of Chennai, then in Mugaiyur, a small village. For six months I took pictures and had conversations with roommates, guides and members of the families who had taken me in as a guest. I had very many questions, as did they. After children, the main subject was always love. ‘In your country they don’t have arranged marriages?’ many said in surprise.
I spoke especially with young unmarried women like myself. When I asked them how they felt about being expected to marry a stranger a common answer was ‘I am ready, let him come. If the cup is empty we can fill it, if it’s dirty, we can clean it.’ Everything I heard from them and saw around me there filled me with both surprise and doubt, but above a with admiration. I admired their courage and faith. Their arranged marriages were a fascinating mystery to me.