Friday, April 9, 2010

Muslim Women of Ajaria

Muslim Women of Ajaria is project unveils the romantic peculiarities in the lives of the Muslim women of the highland Ajara . These Georgian females bear the principal burden of their families: they raise kids, cook food and breed the cattle, work on the fields and keep their households upright. Specific to deeply traditional Muslim societies, these women are bound by the rules of veiling their faces outside their homes and in presence of non-family member males. They often marry without ever knowing or seeing their future spouses. They have no right to speak in presence of their fathers in law and their education is often limited to several years in the secondary schools. But surprisingly, they find the ways to enjoy this miserable life and these secrets are often hidden in their own love-stories.

I have chosen this topic, first to educate myself about this almost mysterious and poorly known region of Georgia. Secondly, I wanted to share my impressions about these women during the rare moments of their leisure. Bringing forth their faces, hands and love or marriage-gifts in the close-up photography reveals the precious details of their romantic experiences.

The project is about the female inhabitants of highland Ajara. People living there are Georgian Muslims, while being there I shot the women whom I found interesting to photograph, they are the main power in family while bringing up the children, breeding the cattle ad doing all sorts of housework. The women strictly follow their ancestors traditions, they never leave the house without wearing the veil, some of them got married without knowing there future husbands sometimes they are not allowed to talk while being in the same room with their fathers in law, and they hardly gain full education at schools, but despite all these they are happy with their lives.

I did this project just to find and to show the others what happens up there in these mountains to women as there are not spoiled with such attention even I hardly knew about them before my first visit up there, .but as they do not have professions or any other jobs except the housework I concentrated on their portraits, faces and expirations.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Svanetian Funeral

Svanetian Funeral
Trip to Svaneti offers lots of fascinating experiences like the views of the dazzling sub-alpine landscape or the chance to become a part of the centuries old cultural and religious rituals. My visit was marked by a sudden death of the locally well-known villager Torkhan, 60. This healthy man, who surprisingly left no family behind, except his very old mother, fell victim of the heart attack and was honored with the traditional moaning called Zari. A choir of dozens of local men performed in the lower baritone the ritual wordless singing that is implied to express the deepest sorrow of the family and relatives.
The funeral in Georgia is traditionally a social event that unites all the relatives and neighborhood to offer their total support to the family of the diseased person. They organize memorial services and prepare the ritual dinner called Kelekhi.
Despite this tragic event, the relatives of Torkhan readily offered to me their permission to photograph and record the sounds of the funeral service. Here on this page I tried to compile all the obtained images and audio, which I believe helps the viewer to get the experience similar to mine.

Shuamtoba-Celebration in highlands of Ajara.