Often confronted with representations of their own images, from the walls of ancient churches and cathedrals to life-size portraits, painted by a craftsman to commemorate a life. When I look at the faces of these icons and paintings, I recognize both eastern and western images, rich dark colors created with an understanding of the brutality of time. On each occasion, I am invited to experience an expression of who and what these people have decided to be. Through dance, through song, through physical agility, through stories told on heavily laden tables, shared by anyone willing to listen. Presented with ease, with pleasure and with grace.
It is of course a kind of fantasy. And yet there is a melancholy that almost inevitably opposes such exuberance. It is a place that literally crumbles under the weight of such unbearable romance.
When I returned in 2008, after a summer of war with its powerful neighbor.
I found my friends exhausted but alive in a way that is only possible when one is so close to death. I came back once again in late spring 2009, a little less than a year after this conflict, I wanted to search for the people who seemed to me most representative of this collective imagination. I chose dancers and pilgrims, wedding guests and young judo players.