Oct 05, 2012-Jan 21, 2013

Tuareg and Anima

On display are photographs from two of Elisabeth Sunday’s monumental series: The Tuareg Portfolio and the Anima Sequence.

The Tuareg Portfolioportrays nomads who, for thousands of years, have ranged eastward across the great expanse of the Sahara Desert from eastern Mauritania through the southernmost reaches of Algeria, to the roiling dunes of northern Mali and Niger. They have long worn double-layer, flowing, indigo-colored wraps that fully encase the body and protect against sun, sand, heat, and wind. Their expression of grace is a kind of cultural memory of movement given to them through the ages of arranging and rearranging their wraps. Watching the extension of an arm or hand to perform a mundane task, the gestures from fingers, hands, wrists, and arms combining with the elegant, precise folds and wind-shaped twists in their clothing, is like observing a well-choreographed dance.

Inspired by Sunday’s experiences with the Efe, one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes on earth, the Anima Sequence is a conceptual representation of animist beliefs encountered throughout her travels. The Efe live in the heart of deep Africa, just below the equator. Their Eden is the fabled Ituri Rain Forest located in the Congo Basin about two thousand miles from either coast and nearly a thousand miles from any major city.

Sunday photographs her subjects’ reflections in a way that blends and dissolve the boundaries between the figures and their environment, expressing both intimacy and strength.