Like a bird
Project info

Like a Bird – Circus in Muslim countries
Johanna-Maria Fritz

With my long-term documentary project „Like a Bird“ i deal with circuses in Muslim countries and the desire for freedom in conflict areas. Seen from an outside perspective, e.g. someone from the “West”, one does not associate countries like Iran, Palestine or Afghanistan with the idea of the circus. But there are circus projects in these countries, often in the tension field of current armed conflicts (Afghanistan/Palestine) or rigid religious morality (Iran).
The artists of the circuses as well as the visitors are the focus of my photos: How can the circus artists create this kind of free space and which dreams and hopes do they connect with their art? What kind of external effect does the circus create in these countries - as a place of escape from the everyday adversities (Gaza Strip) or the possibility for young girls to experience a free and equal atmosphere outside their parents‘ house (Afghanistan).
Through the contrast of intimate portraits, staged performances in the rural/urban environment of the circuses and the spectators, the multitude of the social currents is pointedly photographed. And the quintessence of the project, already found in the title „Like a Bird“, which is a quotation from one of the artists from the Gaza Strip, seems to be clear from the perspective of the photographs:
A circus is a place free of religion, nationality or skin color and thus a refuge in times of uncertainties or conflict.