From One Maria to the Next
In Messejana, a quiet village tucked between fields of olive, far away from the coast in Alentejo, Portugal, the locals come together for a yearly prom in the summer – ‘Baile de Pinha’. The evening has an elected King and Queen, who open the event by hoisting a pine-cone-shaped piñata, which takes the choice of the King and Queen for the following year. As it all begins, the elders of the village break into a synchronised dance, and the apparent isolation in this rather sleepy village dissolves. Rakshita Mittal photographs the evening as she is waltzed by one Maria to the next – most of the women in the village are named Maria.
Rakshita Mittal is a visual artist and an information designer working at the intersection of communities & spaces. Her practice and research are based on personal stories, cultural histories, and shared conversations of people, that become data points to build visual narratives and develop experiences. Gender, food, and identity and are recurring themes in her work.