Anyone walking around Sheffield the past few weeks might have noticed a new addition to the neighbourhood. Wheatpaste images of Sadhus – distinctive looking Hindu monks in striking dress – have started to appear on the walls of the city.
These Sadhu images are the work of Alex Ekins and his 7 Sadhu project. Alex is a Sheffield-based artist and photographer specialising in international travel and adventure photography. He studied photojournalism at Sheffield College, and began working internationally as a rock climbing and adventure photographer. Alex took an interest in photographing people in “unwelcoming circumstances and strange environments”.
“I’m looking at people on the margins of society” he says “I like the idea of people going where perhaps society doesn’t want them to be.” With this in mind, Alex travelled to Kathmandu, Nepal to photograph a group of people living on the edge of society – the Sadhus. The Sadhus, as Ekins puts it “have chosen to give up work, materialism and the trappings of modern society” and have removed themselves from common society to focus on their spirituality.
After befriending a Sadhu, Alex was able to take many photographs, which he brought back to the UK and blew up to life size. Wanting to introduce the Sadhu to the UK urban landscapes, Alex cut them out and put them up over the city.