Iekeliene Stange is a Dutch native, situated between Amsterdam and the Veluwe (Netherlands). She studied at the Graphic Lyceum in Rotterdam, then attended to study dark room courses at ICP New York. In 2009 Iekeliene and artist Victor de Bie hosted an exhibition together at the horse hospital London called ‘Umfeld’ following up with a single show of Iekeliene’s work at Projekt Galerie in Berlin. Mostly self thought, Iekeliene loves the use of photography as a medium to show people the surreal beauty of the world around them in a playful and somewhat dreamlike way. Today we share Ikeliene’s series that she documented of a village named Azerbaijan, situated in between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
“Khinalug or Xinaliq is an ancient Caucasian village dating back to the Caucasian Albanian period and is the highest, most remote isolated village of Azerbaijan, located in the high mountains of the Quba Rayon. The people of Khinalug speak a completely original language, which does not belong to any linquistic group. Speculations say the land of the Khynalyg is linked to Noah, who is said disembarked in this mountain region according to legend and so the people of Khynalyg consider themselves to be “The Grandchildren of Noah.”
Men follow a simplistic life style, tending to their sheep high up in the mountain range to return to the village in evening. Passing hours on the roofs of their homes losing themselves in conversation with other villagers or staring at the clouds playing a theatrical performance above the mountain region. In the mean time, the women occupy themselves with the heavier work, taking care of the children, laundry, spinning wool, cooking, baking bread and making fresh cheese and condiments.
As if time has been on a stand still, children use the hills as their playground and the sky to nurture their dreams. Ancient crafts being shared from generation to generation, most seem content with their lives in these mesmerizing mountains and carry a certain peacefulness amongst them, which is now hard to be found in our ever speeding lives in the west.”
To view more of Iekeliene’s work please visit her website.