Photographic exploration and conversation by cultural- conservation photographer Sej Saraiya
As the West slowly drifts toward neo-individualism, cultural-conservation photographer Sej Saraiya makes an elemental journey through remote Asia to experience that beyond the dichotomy of the I and the We: Advaita or non duality.
“Having been born in India, I was raised in a culture where community and accountability are placed over freedom and individual growth—cornerstones in individualistic cultures like that of the West. After spending a decade in the West, I returned to the spiritually charged East to witness a persistent awareness of unity ingrained in daily rituals, the common thread being the spirit of renunciation, simplicity, and tathātā (the inexpressible totality of this moment). I spent time in the remote corners of Northeast India, where the elders still worship the sun and the moon; stayed with the last remaining headhunters; visited deep in the heart of the San José del Pacífico, where the Mazatec curanderos still journey beyond earth with their young sons and daughters; and met with the Tana Torajans, who still bring their dead back to life in the triennial ritual of Ma’nene; while capturing portraits of remote cultures. This conversation reflects on the dissolving identities that I glimpsed along the way and on the force that can be generated if the action and activism of the West came together with the introspection and self-observation of the East.”
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