Lisa Ross: Living Shrines
Lisa Ross’s ethereal photographs of Islamic holy sites were created over the course of a decade on journeys to China’s Xinjiang region in Central Asia, historically a cultural crossroads but an area to which artists and researchers have generally been denied access since its annexation in 1949. These monumental images show shrines (mazars) created during pilgrimages, many of which have been maintained continuously over several centuries; visitation to the tombs of saints is a central aspect of daily life in Uyghur Islam, and its pilgrims ask for intercession for physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. The shrines, adorned with small devotional offerings that mark a prayer or visit, are poignant representations of collective memory and a pacifistic faith, and endure despite vulnerability to natural forces of sand, heat, and powerful winds. Their simplicity and austerity as captured by Ross invoke ideas of spirituality, eternity, and transcendence. A number of the mazars, which honor the lives of Muslim saints, have been maintained for hundreds of years.
(Source: 5centsapound, via leradr)