Imaginary Mountains

2014- ongoing

Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey

 

“When I was a child my father taught me to respect the mountains. Waking up in the middle of the night to see the sunrise from the mountaintop seemed, at the time, like pointless suffering. We did not waste time having breakfast because “you don’t eat before going to the mountains,” my father explained. He would put a few pieces of chocolate in my pocket for when I got hungry. Even in summer it was still dark and cold. Along the first part of the path I slept on his shoulders. Halfway up, at first light, I’d jump down and start chattering. My father would remind me to be respectful, “you don’t shout in the mountains.”

 

Thirst for freedom. Regret. Collective illusion. Long-lasting ambition. Whatever the lens through which one looks into the soul of the Kurdish people, the mountains are the leitmotiv of a narration whose origins are to be traced very far away. Kurdish identity is one that has long been dictated and interpreted through a colonial-political prism, often by countries and powers that have sought to erase the Kurdish narrative altogether. This too had a strong impact on how the Kurds see themselves.

 

“Imaginary Mountains” is a participative project aiming to document the relationship between the Kurds and the mountains, steering clear of the stereotypes and exoticism that have long characterized this relationship. Kurds are invited to reflect on the mountains, on their value and how they are part of their lives today, as in the past, bringing together drawings, maps, photographs, poems and archive material realized by Kurdish people themselves for the purposes of the project.

 

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