“Berens has no fear: she is willing to go to the edge. Her work is content-oriented enough to be viewed as substantial, but it doesn’t over-explain and it isn’t crushingly didactic.”
—David Alan Harvey, Magnum Photographer
“It is out of reality that the most peculiar tale of all is born. (…) Some call me the Elder Granny, others – the Dryad, but my real name is Memory.
It is I who sits on a tree that keeps on growing, and growing, it is I who reminisces and tells stories.”
*This fairy tale is like a spell cast in an attempt to disenchant the past. It is an act of creating a new reality in which illusion is the truth.
They say that childhood is a time when one’s mind is asleep. Acting as a guide leading my daughter to consciousness I intend to implant in her a belief that “fairy tales are more than real, not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they make us realize that they can be conquered.” **
For my parents
* H. Ch. Andersen
** C.K. Chesterton
The history of the Suiti people goes back almost 400 years to a romantic story from 1623 when the ruler of the Alsunga region(Kurzeme, Latvia), Johan Ulrich von Schwerin, in order to marry a Polish court lady Barbara Konarska, agreed to re-convert to the Catholic faith. To distinguish residents of Alsunga from Protestants Johan ordered them to wear specific costumes. These have become an important element of identity for the Suiti. Nowadays, protecting their identity, brought by their ancestors through centuries is still important and makes this religious minority very special. Visiting Alsunga is a trip to a place where time passes slowly, people have a strong relation with nature and a romantic story from the past is still present .
Suiti Cultural Space is a unique example of European intangible cultural heritage which since 2009 has been inscribed on UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. The Suiti people are very proud of their distinct identity and character.
The Sami people (also Sámi or Saami) are an indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sami are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognized and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples, and are hence the northernmost indigenous people of Europe.
I’ve decided to tell their tales.
(…)I have been waiting for you. I saw in the smoke and fire that you were coming. I have heard when the fire crackles it has something to say. From the fire I understood I should tell you about Sapmi.
Not the part of Sapmi that you see, I want to show you another Sapmi, one that have always existed. The Sapmi that you can only see with your heart. To help you see this land with your heart I have to take you with me, back in time. Do you hear the beat ? The drum? It is the sound of the beginning. Where all life starts.Listen to the story of our ancestors. Listen to the story of life.
Long, long ago, before mankind was on Earth, there was a reindeer, a very special reindeer, It did not look like any other reindeer. It was white. The whole world was created from this reindeer. The rivers and streams from its veins. The trees and the woods from its fur. His eyes became the stars. The heart of the reindeer was buried deep into the ground. And from this heart grew invisible strings to all the lives on Earth. This strings are the invisible web that connects us, and all living things. Listen, do you hear the heartbeat? It’s in the wind, in the rain and the snow. It is in your heart, and in the reindeer’s eyes. It is the way you move and in the sound of your voice. Long before you decided to come to this land, you were a part of it. You were connected to the all of nature. To the trees, to the rivers and to the mountains. As long as the heart is pounding, we know the Earth is alive.(…)
Silica is a chemical compound that is an oxide of silicon with the chemical formula SiO2. It has been known since ancient times. Silica is most commonly found in nature as quartz, as well as in various living organisms. In many parts of the world, silica is the major constituent of sand. Silica is one of the most complex and most abundant families of materials. Just like my family. My father is a chemist. He’s 77 years old, he recently suffered a stroke which turned my emotional world upside down. It drastically made me realize that perhaps fate gave us little time to become close to each other.
When I was little we didn’t speak much. At one point in time due to various life events he appeared to me as a riddle frozen in a block of ice. The trip to Iceland was our first and perhaps the last one. Our voyage became an emotional journey to our mutual relations, a symbolic reconciliation with his gradual passing.
My 7 year old daughter Tosia accompanied us acting as a mirror that reflected the past. I know that when my father is one day no longer with us I will come back to these moments captured in haste, when submerged in silence we ate up the miles staring into the broad expanse while dad passionately explained with the definiteness of a chemist in his voice that the Blue Lagoon got its colour thanks to silica.
Marta Berens / BIO
Warsaw Witches Association founder. Mother, photographer, filmmaker, activist, creative producer who finds her comfort in storytelling.
She is interested in vanishing cultures, rituals, minorities, socially engaged issues.
She travels between reality and a dream aiming into personal long term stories that help her interpret the world we live in with no fear. She is being guided by heart, free spirit, intuition, idealism , joy of living and sense of humou