In the Kathmandu Valley young Newari girls called kumaris are worshipped as omnipotent deities. These prepubescent girls (in Nepali the word “kumari” means “virgin girl”) are glorified as living goddesses for years at time and are believed to have powers of prescience and the ability to cure the sick (particularly those suffering from blood disorders), fulfill specific wishes, and bestow blessings of protection and prosperity. Above all, they’re said to provide an immediate connection between this world and the divine and to generate in their devotees maitri bhavana—a spirit of loving-kindness toward all. This photographic essay, created for National Geographic, is a rare look into the world of a living goddess.
Visual Journalist, Stephanie Sinclair is known for gaining unique access to the most sensitive gender and human rights issues around the world. Although she has covered the dramatic events of war, many of Sinclair’s most arresting works confront the everyday brutality faced by young girls around the world. Her studies of domestic life in developing countries and the United States bring into sharp relief the physical and emotional tolls that entrenched social conventions can take on those most vulnerable to abuse. Sinclair’s images mark an exchange of trust and compassion. But by consenting to be photographed at their most vulnerable, the people depicted in these images also demonstrate a rare bravery. The resulting images have been published in hundreds our outlets worldwide including National Geographic and The New York Times Magazine. Sinclair is the recipient of numerous other awards including the CARE International Award for Humanitarian Reportage, the Overseas Press Club’s Olivier Rebbot Award, three World Press Photo awards and a Pulitzer Prize. In 2010, Stephanie’s photographs of self-immolation in Afghanistan were exhibited as part of the Whitney Biennial in New York.
Established in 1888, National Geographic is a trusted print and digital publication offering stories that illuminate, inspire, and reveal. Our mission is to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of cultures, the sciences, and the natural world. We advance that mission by creating visually stunning, richly reported photojournalism and distinguished, impartial coverage of the globe’s most pressing issues. National Geographic, the most popular brand on Instagram, has more than 215 million followers.
National Geographic Presents: Living Goddesses
Featuring: Stephanie Sinclair
Curated by: Ken GeigerView Location Details Number 1 on the official photoville map Click to download this year's map Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza
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An Evening with National Geographic
The evening will begin with photos and videos from the past 127 years—up to the most recent stories from National Geographic and their digital platforms including News, Your Shot, and Proof.Learn More