Convents of India photographed by Percy Dean


Holy Cross, female dormitory

Manchester based photographer Percy Dean was born on the banks of the river Mersey in North West England. At the age of 17 he studied photographic practice at a small local college; during this time he started making pictures around his love of skateboarding and began contributing to the national/international specialist sports magazines of the time. In 2010 he received an MA in Photojournalism from Bolton University. About this series, The Seven Sisters of Siolim, Dean writes:

Seven years ago I travelled to India. As I drove a bike through a small town called Siolim, in the North of Goa, I noticed a crowd of people surrounding a small figure. I passed by and could see that the figure was clothed in a Nun’s habit and with outstretched arms was allowing the crowd to touch and hold her hands. In the mêlée, I noticed her skin was so pale it seemed almost translucent, she watched me as I passed with frail eyes. As I drove on and away from the town the visual clutter of the situation began to piece itself together slowly in my head; the lady was an Albino nun. In hindsight, what could I have done? An awkward forced encounter resulting in some sort of ‘voyeuristic portrait’ of an Albino Nun? I presume that’s why I didn’t do anything about it at the time, but then again I was a very different person back then.

As the years passed I often thought about the fleeting moment and how things could have been different or if indeed they should have been. I’d tell friends stories of the Nun and occasionally trawl the Internet for some kind of name or record. I don’t really know what I was looking for. I wanted to feel a connection that I hadn’t make at the time, I was trying to right a regret.

In January 2011, I travelled back to try and find her. I discovered there are seven convents in Siolim; I went to them all. I’d walk through the town asking the same question again and again, I’d tell my tale to anyone who’d listen. Initially I think I was still just trying to find ‘her’, but as I made my way through the wider area and the convents, the path I was following became less definite and began to revolve about my changing feelings that resulted from all these encounters and conversations. I don’t think actually finding the person in the story really mattered anymore, maybe she never did.


Shelter for women and girls in distress

The Seven Sisters of Siolim Percy-Dean


The third stage of the cross, ‘Jesus falls for the first time’

The Seven Sisters of Siolim Percy-Dean

The road to Siolim


Sister Sneha’s garden

The Seven Sisters of Siolim Percy-Dean

The Vivan Niwas children’s refuge

The Seven Sisters of Siolim Percy-Dean

Back door of orphanage


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