I had to stop someone photographing my mother at the morgue – social media mourning has gone too far | Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson
Grief is always public in Samoa, but now that people post selfies with dead bodies to Facebook, I had to draw the lineThere’s no such thing as a closed casket in my culture. In Samoa, the dead are still part of the living until they are buried.Growing up on the island of Savai’i, one of my earliest memories was being thrust into a coffin to kiss one of my great-uncles goodbye. This may sound horrific, but for Samoans, this is the norm, and at any given funeral, you will witness a child being held over the face of a dead relative, a mother trying to pull the body of their loved one out of a casket or an adult son or daughter being physically removed from the casket of their parent. Continue reading...
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Joseph Auga Matamata lured villagers to his adoptive country promising work and study, reaping ‘bags of...Joseph Auga Matamata lured villagers to his adoptive country promising work and study, reaping ‘bags of cash’ from their unpaid forced labourWhen Loto* saw the police arrive at the rural property in New Zealand where he had been held captive for nearly two years, the man who had imprisoned him there told him to run. Instead, Loto quietly waited to be discovered by police.Loto had spent 17 months being held as a slave on a property in Hastings on New Zealand’s North Island. He was never paid for his work and was subject to cruel beatings from Joseph Auga Matamata, a 65-year-old Samoan chief, or matai. Continue reading...
How can you grieve without a funeral? As coronavirus restrictions become more strict, families make heartbreaking choices
As restrictions against the coronavirus grow, funerals are getting delayed because of social distancing measures and...As restrictions against the coronavirus grow, funerals are getting delayed because of social distancing measures and families are left waiting to bury their dead.
It is thought to be Europe’s last matriarchy, a tiny Baltic island where women are in...It is thought to be Europe’s last matriarchy, a tiny Baltic island where women are in charge and weddings can last three days. Photographer Anne Helene Gjelstad’s portraits of Kihnu are a lament for a dying way of lifeAnne Helene Gjelstad was working on a photography project on the tiny Estonian island of Kihnu when one of her neighbours invited her to an old woman’s funeral to take pictures. The neighbour dressed the Norwegian photographer in blue mourning clothes, as is custom, before bringing her into the kitchen where Koksi Leida’s body lay in an open casket.During the ceremony, the women of the Baltic island prayed, mourned and sang, before the men arrived and the casket was taken outside. Witnessing these powerful moments of sisterhood transformed Gjelstad’s outlook. “This,” she says, pointing to an image of the women sitting around Leida, “is one of the most emotional moments I have experienced as a photographer. It was like going way back in time and being present at the same time. I thought I would do a book on Estonian handicrafts – but all of a sudden it was about the old women and their culture, which is changing so rapidly.” Continue reading...