The 20th RPS GRANTEE Ioanna Sakellaraki
We are pleased to announce that Ioanna Sakellaraki’s proposal “The Truth is in the Soil” has been selected as the 20th grantee of Reminders Photography Stronghold Grant from 2019 June deadline submissions selected by our nine commissioned judges, Peggy Sue Amison, Alexa Becker, Marie Lelievre, Teun van der Heijden, Staton Winter, Andrei Polikanov, Erik Vroons, Emmeline Yong and Giuseppe Oliverio. We are now scheduling her exhibition in 2020, more news later!
The Truth is in the Soil
After my father passed away three years ago, I returned to my homeland Greece and followed my mother’s behaviours as a believer seeking for shelter in the wider system of religious traditions and cultural beliefs in a society functioning on that basis.
Photography transformed itself into a question of becoming through loss and made the passageway within a liminal space of absence and presence.
As the project advanced and while inspired by the origins of ancient Greek laments, I dwelled within traditional communities of the last female professional mourners inhabiting the Mani peninsula of Greece looking for traces of bereavement and grief.
While most know Mani for its breathtaking cliffs and quaint coastal villages, it also is home to a tradition of ritual lament that dates back to ancient times.
Considered an art, moirologia can be traced to the choirs of the Greek tragedies, in which the principal singer would begin the mourning and the chorus would follow.
Over the centuries, it became a profession exclusive to women.
Those who were especially adept at this improvisation, and could endure the physical and emotional traumas of the work, were hired by families to lead in the ritual lament.
Today in the villages of Mani peninsula live some of the last professional mourners of Greece.
The ageing of the villages and the difficulties during the current economic woes besetting the country seem to be part of the reasons for the disappearance of the dying art of professional mourning.
My personal intention for realizing this project has been the impossible mourning of my father that is yet to come while making this body of work contemplating fabrications of grief in my culture and family.
In a way, these images work as vehicles to mourn perished ideals of vitality, prosperity and belonging.
By connecting my poignant grief with the dramatisations performed by the professional mourners, I look into the subjective spirituality of Greek death rituals.
I am interested in how the image affirms things in their disappearance and gives us the power to use things in their absence through fiction.
The photographs themselves lay between real and unreal allowing the viewer to believe in the real that is yet to come; another type of reality.
Bio | Ioanna Sakellaraki
Born in 1989 in Athens, Ioanna is a graduate of photography, journalism and culture.
Her images suggest a constructed space of fantasy and loss within the magical potential of transformation and fiction the camera allows.
Her ideas revolve around memory and loss and are strongly connected with her homeland Greece which has an archetypical aura and ambiguous personal importance.
Her work was shortlisted for the Prix Levallois 2018 in France and Urbanautica Awards 2018.
She was recently awarded with The Royal Photographic Society Postgraduate Bursary Award and nominated for the Inge Morath Award by Magnum Foundation, the Prix Voies Off in Arles and the BMW Art and Culture Residency in Paris.
After gaining an MA in European Urban and Cultural Studies, Ioanna currently completes an MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art in London.
Next to her personal projects, she is a contributing photographer for London-based agency Millennium images and she also licenses part of her work to global media such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Getty Images, and others.