Orsa

ARTIST STATEMENT

With Eternal Memories, Orsa dedicated his work to a tragedy, which happened during the Algerian civil war, in North Africa. On the night of March 26th 1996, seven monks of the monastery of Tibhirine were kidnapped. After two months as hostages, their death was announced on May 21st 1996, in a statement made by the Armed Islamic Group, a group who was against the government during the Algerian civil war. Beheaded heads of the monks were found on May 30th 1996, near Medea, a small town near the monastery where the monks were abducted; their bodies have never been found.

Orsa decided to revisit this tragedy during a visit to the Cistercian Abbey of Aiguebelle in the south of France in 2011. The artist immediately fell in love with the place, which fascinated him for its beauty and peacefulness. During the tragedy of Tibhirine, two of the seven monks killed, were members of the community of the Abbey of Aiguebelle, so, they decided to build a chapel in their memories. While he was in the church, Orsa could not stop admiring the monks praying in their white dresses magnified by the light of the place. He felt the need to honour the Tibhirine monks who were killed in 1996. He took pictures of the monks with a black light to obscure their faces, paying attention not to disturb them. Back home, while he was developing the pictures, he realised that with the black light he had used, their bodies disappeared and one could only see the monk’s white dresses. Immersed in the monastic light, these headless bodies seem to float in space, like ghosts. We get swept up by the moving bodies. The light carries us into a sort of world beyond where the monks of Tibhirine come back to life.

To: Orsa

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Works by Orsa

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