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26 August 2009

Giorgia Fiorio, The gift

Italian photographer Giorgia Fiorio is conducting a long-term survey and reportage project on forms of belief and contemporary spiritual rites around the world. Faithful to her approach— her decade-long work on closed male communities lingers in the memory— she has travelled several continents and absorbed many cultures in order to record and explore the manifestations of various human communities in their relationship with the sacred. Monotheistic religions, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Animist, Shamanic and initiatory groups—the photographer summons all forms of spirituality without any preconceptions or hierarchy.

In Ethiopia, Poland, the Philippines, Haiti, India, Tibet, Burma, Thailand, Africa, Oceania, through peoples and continents, she unveils an enthralling panorama of protean rites of human fervour, at the dawn of a new century. Visions of the ‘praying body’—its gestures, postures, trances—are the clues that guide Giorgia Fiorio in her approach to complex, testing rituals in which the moving body acquires a metaphysical dimension under the photographer’s gaze. Herself involved in this quest for meaning, Giorgia Fiorio passes no judgement and draws no conclusion from her work; she admirably observes the way things are, convinced that the depth of the mysteries she portrays cannot eclipse the extraordinary riches of a heritage exclusive to humankind and to the history of its civilisations.

B. R.

UNESCO has granted its patronage for the book and exhibition The Gift in recognition of Giorgia Fiorio’s survey of the diversity of sacred forms of expression in cultures around the world. Her testimony supports the message promoted by the Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Exhibition organized by Le Méjan.

Exhibition venue: Magasin Electrique, Parc des Ateliers, Rencontres d’Arles 2009.