CLAIRE PHILLIPS

Contemporary Portrait Artist


 

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Geeta

150 x 150 cm
oil on canvas

Geeta and her baby brother are part of a nomadic tribe called Banjara. Their families go wherever they can find work, such as road building. Often the whole family work as labourers. This community is being supported by BBA to access government funding for education and housing, bypassing the corruption that prevents many villagers from obtaining the education that they are legally entitled to.

When I arrive a group of around 10 children are being taught in ‘school’ – a makeshift canopy with a blackboard. Even though they are not expecting visitors, the little girls are striking in their elaborate colourful dresses, while their mothers have added ornate jewellery and bangles to arms, legs and neck.

These children are the first generation of their community to have any education at all. Without education they are destined to remain among the poorest and least respected people in India.