This is called “The Ancients.” I’ve been playing around recently with the ancient symbols and iconography of my ancestors, the Assyrians. My father (on whose side I carry this ancestory) didn’t like the photo because he said I looked sad, not realizing that the evocation of sadness was intentional.
It is sometimes said that immortal power is drawn from mortal faith and belief. I envisioned an ancient Assyrian goddess that was worshipped by thousands in centuries past, but whose name and image have now been completely forgotten.
I tried to imagine how it would feel for her to walk along the modern streets of the Middle East, once littered with idols meant to garner her good will, and be completely ignored, her ancient divinity hidden from mortal sight. What would she do? Where would she go? Would she simply fade away?
This is the second photo in my “Ancients” series. The vision of the first photo was that of an Ancient Assyrian goddess, long forgotten by the humans from which she drew her power, wandering the streets of the Middle East. Given the oft-cited belief that immortal power is drawn from mortal faith, I questioned what would become of her.
Here, we come across her a little while later. Still present but less ethereal, having witnessed the harsh realities of the modern age. Gone is the sadness at having been forgotten by man, woman and child. She no longer mourns their lack of faith, for she is far too busy trying to keep pace with the frenetic world in which she’s found herself.
She gapes at humanity’s seeming inability to be still. Both man and machine are in a constant state of motion, and she cannot gather her thoughts. Though it is not in her nature, this inability to center has shrouded her in a veil of anxious suspicion from which she is desperately trying to break through. And because she cannot yet be seen, she cannot ask where she might find sanctuary from the unyielding commotion that is modern humanity.
This is the third and final photo in my "Ancients" Series. The first two photos centered around the reemergence of an ancient Assyrian goddess and her struggle to adapt to the frenetic pace of the modern world, all while being invisible to most humans.
Here, we find her pallid and broken, covered in the blood of her people. She feels helpless and can only watch as they are murdered, kidnapped and cast out of the lands in which they've lived for thousands of years. Once invisible to the human eye, she realizes as they reach out to touch her, that some of them can see her right before the moment of their deaths. She wants nothing more than to look away, but she senses that her presence comforts the ill-fated, and so she stays. Someone must bear witness.
The elaborate palace in which she was once worshipped has been bulldozed, and the faces of the winged bulls that guarded its gates, cherished by humankind for centuries, have been smashed to pieces. They, along with countless other historical treasures, are forever lost. Destroyed by men hellbent on the destruction and eradication of her people.
She feels herself slowly fading back into the infinite darkness. Or is it a retreat? But she cannot go.
Someone must bear witness.