Seeking the Ethiopian God
The series "Seeking The Ethiopian God" is a part of a long-term photographic project that focuses on issues related to religious beliefs and spirituality.
Ethiopia is commonly associated with natural disasters and famine issues, which is why only very little attention is paid to the abundant cultural heritage, especially regarding the northern part of the country. Along with other countries of North Africa, Ethiopia may well be called "the cradle of humanity" for its famous archaeological finding called Lucy - an incomplete skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis - the alleged missing link between African apes and humans. In the 1st century AD, the ancient civilization of Aksum developed on the area of today's northern Ethiopia. As many Ethiopians seem to believe, Aksum is where the Biblical Ark of Covenant is being kept.
In Ethiopia, religion shapes the people's daily rhythm of life. Most religious Ethiopians are followers of the Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which has existed as an independent Christian tradition since the 4th century AD. The Christian culture of Ethiopia is famous for its temples carved out in rock below ground level.
During a two-week trip across northern Ethiopia, the author was searching for inspirations in its culture and religion, focusing on the tradition of Tewahedo church, traces of the ancient Aksumite empire, and folk beliefs. Referring to the Far East philosophy of five elements (fire, earth, water, air, and wood), the author attempts to describe the relationship between human life in Ethiopia and the powers of nature. The latter’s essential role often comes to expression in Ethiopia’s tribal beliefs. Another subject that visiting Ethiopia got the author to reflect on was the origin of mankind as a point of contention between the religious and the scientific points of view. Rather than a uniform narrative, "Seeking The Ethiopian God" is a collection of symbolic images, using fragments of the outside world to depict spiritual experiences and longings that accompanied the author on his way through Ethiopia.
In his photography, the author follows questions related to transcendental and supernatural aspects of human life, and the role of religious experience and spiritual development for the life of an individual and mankind in general. Personally, the author places tremendous importance on the contemplative, inner-focused aspect of life, finding periods of silence and isolation from the hustle and bustle a way to remain insightful and focused.