Inkjet on Blueback paper, 90 x 110 cm
Location of print:
Mamayev Kurgan, Volgograd, Russia
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No odor emanates from her, her breath smells completely neutral to nothing. She blessed me and drove the evil spirits out of me.
Baba Nastya is an Old Believer. At 84 she still pulls her own onions from the garden, lives alone in a little old wooden house and has young cats running around the room. She told us many things, that she would like to die soon and yet she is so fit. In fact, she is a small, delicate creature who moves nimbly, has small, loving eyes and, although slightly crippled from age and a gout, she has such delicate, soft hands that one can’t understand how she does it.
This meeting also awakened in me the awe of age. Ceremonies, as they have been practiced for centuries, are being lost more and more, history is forgotten and washed away with the next rain.
Volgograd in July 2023 had 39 degrees Celsius. Displaying an image always means scouting the spot, then come back and paste the poster and the next day come back to check if it‘s still there and take photographs. In this case, we were on Mamayev Kurgan near the statue Motherland Calls. It was dry and hot here, and it made me think about Stalingrad. It was the tactically contested hill, unbearably hot in summer, but even deadlier in winter.
Baba Nastya must have been 5 or 6 years at the time, living in the backwoods of the Volga in the Nizhny Novgorod region.