Ganga Ma (Mother Ganges) is the culmination of a ten-year research project, starting in 2005, Di Sturco has chronicled the course of the river Ganges over 2,500 km.
Downstream from its source as snow in the Himalayan glaciers through to Bangladesh where it empties into the sea in the Bay of Bengal. Much more than a mere river, for Hindus the Ganges represents the fulcrum of spirituality. Ironically, today the river is one of the most polluted in the world. Its water levels have shrunk dramatically and are very toxic, endangering the livelihoods of over 400 million people who depend on it.
Much of Di Sturco’s work is concerned with the future – the evolution of societies and human adaptation in the face of environmental pressures and technological change. With Ganga Ma, the photographer provides a poetic and foreboding portrait of the river, up close, through images that move back and forth between the observational detachment of documentary photography and an aesthetic painterly response to the ecological and atmospheric conditions of the Ganges.
The choice of India’s most sacred and revered river as the subject for this long-term project ultimately demands us to profoundly rethink our complex interconnectedness with the environment and the way we envision our place and agency in the world. While Ganga Ma began as a documentary project aiming to bear witness to an unfolding ecological disaster, Di Sturco progressively created a visual language capable of evoking a near future by showing us its seeds in the present day, and in the process allowing us to perceive a toxic, post-apocalyptic world.