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Martina Cirese

Asankojo

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What happens when a circle begins? You know the circle will end. The matter is how is it gonna end. (The matter is, how can you know how is it gonna end?). A photographer meets an subject, not that she thinks he his, but it’s the only thing he deserves to be. And he knows it, and he likes it. Skin is a boundary [then] skin is an opportunity.

I met Asan in Paris. I was caught by his mental universe of anxiety, straying and questioning. With him, I felt immediately messy but complete. I entered his nomadic life and his persistent tension with spaces. I found myself in it. I started to take pictures hanging over him, in every street, light or wall he was leaning in. But he kept asking for more. He was viscerally attracted to me. He was obsessed with me.

For over one year, I denied him but I came back in an endless and tense tango. Following him across Europe and Asia, in a bipolar courtship, I was led into intertwined, overlaid worlds: erratic, liquid cities, revealing then hiding themselves; and Asan, more as an entity than a person, a mentor, a spiritual guide. As we chased each other, he took me away. When I found my own vision and language through our photos, I was already gone from his life, as he from mine.

 

Bio

Martina Cirese was born in Rome in 1988.

From 2008 until 2009, while studying History at “La Sapienza” University of Rome, she also enrolled at the institute of photography “ISFCI”, collaborating at the same time with the “AGF” photojournalistic agency and with the organization “Shoot4Change”. Completed her Bachelor’s degree in 2010, she has moved from Rome to Paris to finish her studies, winning a scholarship to do her thesis abroad and receiving her Master degree in Contemporary History in 2013.

Her first publications have been about the student movement: in 2008 on “PeaceReporter”; in 2011 on the book SpringTime: The New Student Rebellions by Verso Books; in the German magazine “Rosa Luxembourg” and in the Italian newspapers “La Repubblica” and “Alias – Il Manifesto”. In 2012, her first reportage assigned and her first cover were published in the Italian magazine “L’Espresso”, with an inquiry about the power of Taxi’s lobby during the Italian economic crisis.

Between 2011 and 2013 she has been working about the human search of identity: with this project, named “Asankojo”, she has been selected as finalist for the “Emergentes DST 2012 Award” and the “WinePhoto International Contest 2012”. She has won the scholarship for the “MasterClass 2012” held by Enrico Bossan, head of photography department in Fabrica.

This year, she has been selected in the “New York Portfolio Review”; she was among the shortlist of the “Bourse du Talent Reportage” and of the “Prix Pixpalace-Visas de l’Ani”. “Asankojo” was also nominated as “Honorable Mention” in the “Photographic Museum of Humanity Grant 2013”, and awarded with the first prize of the student category in the “Fotoura International Street Photography Awards 2013”.

 

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Bedouin village in East Jerusalem 2011

Giuliano Camarda (b. 1978, Italy) is a freelance documentary photographer focusing on Palestinian-Israeli issues. He spent one year in Bosnia and Herzegovina, working on several projects related to the consequences of war in the Balkans. Giuliano also cover news and collaborates with humanitarian NGO’s as a photographer and photography teacher. He has been selected for the Manuel Rivera Ortiz Grant in 2011. His works have been published on National Geographic Italia, La Repubblica, Zoom Magazine, Witness Journal, among others.

About the Photograph:

“This picture was taken in the Bedouin village of Wadi Abu Hindi, one of the most difficult communities in the area of East Jerusalem. The village is nestled in the desert, between the biggest rubbish dump of Jerusalem (Abu Dis), a military area used by Israeli army for training, and the illegal settlement of Qedar. People of this area live in miserable shacks, without electricity or running water, grazing their sheep between debris, being subject to demolition and attacks by settlers. Despite this, the communities have shown determination and unbelievable resilience that led the Israeli military authorities to draw up a relocation plan last October. Ignoring the aspirations, needs, traditions and the system of relations inherent in the Bedouin culture, the plan provides the deportation and a forced establishment of the Jahalin tribe a  few meters far from the rubbish dump.”

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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

Monika Bulaj

Behind the Great Game

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What lies behind the conflicts and power struggles vying for control of the oil resources of Western and Central Asia? The aim of this work – The Central and Western Asia Project - is to give voice to those who are the unwilling protagonists (and often victims) of that which Ahmed Rashid terms The New Great Game, in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Central Asian republics.
In Afghanistan, a country that was to be saved from itself, despite the millions of dollars in aid and the presence of military personnel, over half of the population depends on food aid for their very survival and the condition of women is still among the worst in the world. Pakistan, increasingly torn apart by civil strife, is the victim of American political myopia that has bred a hatred for the West and has rendered impossible any serious opposition to the extremists, undermining the very founding values of the Pakistani state: democracy, a secular educational system, a functioning civil society.
In the work that I did in this Region (Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iran) I’ve tried to go beyond the facile geopolitical characterizations of this region and its inhabitants and bring to the light its invisible spaces: spaces that resist the political monochromes, populist rhetoric and imported understandings of radical Islam. There is another, hidden world here, ignored by the media: that of the Sufi, despised by the Taliban; that of Islamised shamanisms  and pre-Islamic traditions; that of the various nomadic tribes and other religious minorities, such as the animists, whose sacred places have long been seen as a powerful threat to the dominance of Taliban Wahabite ideology.
I’m trying to bring to the fore also the condition of women: their struggles with depression and suicide, with the impositions of morality, their aspirations, their sexuality.

 

Bio

Free-lance photographer and writer, for GEO, East, National Geographic (Italy), La Repubblica, periodicals by  Gruppo Espresso and Rcs, Courrier International, Gazeta Wyborcza. Born in 1966 in Warsaw, she has completed five-years studies in the Polish Philology on the Warsaw University. She has three sons and worked until 2002 as an actress and dancer. She has published books:  ‘Libya felix’, Mondadori; ‘Figli di No?’ Frassinelli 2006 (minorities and faiths in Azerbaigian); ‘Rebecca e la pioggia’, Frassinelli 2006 (the nomadic tribe of the Dinka of South Sudan); ‘Gerusalemme perduta’ with Paolo Rumiz, Frasinelli 2005 (about the Eastern Christians); ‘Genti di Dio, viaggio nell’Altra Europa’, Frasinelli 2008 (researches in East Europe and Israel), Bozy ludzie, Bosz Editions 2011. More than 50 personal exibitions. Awards: Grant in Visual Arts 2005 from EAJC, Bruce Chatwin Award 2009 ‘Occchio Assoluto’, The Aftermath Project Grant 2010. Her book ‘Genti di Dio’ has just been published in a new and larger edition.

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Monika Bulaj

Central Asia Project

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