Usually gathering over one million people in one place, the festival is aimed at pilgrims who travel to this event that only happens once every twelve years in hope to get rid of their sins. To do so, they participate in cleansing rituals and ceremonies while receiving blessings the holy ascetic called Sadhus. But last year’s event marked a before-and-after moment in history: they included transgender women, sadhus, who go by Kinnar Sadhu.
In today’s interview, Ziccarelli discusses how his initial interest in photographing the religious festival increased once he heard of the official acceptance of transgender women priests. One of his intentions was to capture the Kinnar Sadhu in all of their glory, and this began by creating a “connection and understanding” with them. In doing so, he reveals the struggle of authenticity faced by these women on a normal basis. In this exhibition, he presents “who these women are” stripped away from artificial elements. To help the struggling community, a percentage of profits from the exhibition will go towards the Kinnar Sadhu community in India.