a talk with images, stories, movies, sounds
with and by Monika Bulaj
Wandering tribes jeopardised by the folly of mankind; peoples’ bond with the earth, water, trees and mountains; identity and expulsion, belonging and exclusion; oases of meetings, free havens of faith and spirituality besieged by gun-slinging fanatics; the lost homelands of fugitives, places where all gods speak the same lingua franca. In a word, Sacred Crossings goes in search for beauty and the inviolable sacredness of mankind in the most miserable places on the planet, following the sun, the moon and the seasons, walking in the footsteps of pilgrims, fugitives, nomads and their gods, like seagulls following a fishing boat in the desert.
Sacred Crossings is also a journey to the outer limits of monotheisms. Prayers, dreams, water, fire. Death and memory. Scarves and dance. Passion and incarnation. The path of song. Through a map that ignores the barriers built by the preachers of global conflict – from the heart of Asia to Latin America, from the Maghreb to the Middle East, from the source of the Nile to the Solovetsky Islands. It is driven by a belief in connections and crossing across cultures.
My work has changed over the years. I initially began by documenting religions, during wars and their aftermaths. But, at a certain point, my images began to look for me. Today I do something very simple, almost infantile: I collect the shards of a broken mirror, billions of shards, incoherent fragments, pieces, atoms, the brickbats of the Tower of Babel. Perhaps it’s the prerogative of the photographer to collect the tiles of a mosaic that will never be complete, and to order them in a way that seems correct, imagining, though never fully realising, a complete image of the world that may exist somewhere. Or that once existed and then was lost, like the language of Adam.