Monika Bulaj

Where Gods Whisper

Theatre performing reportage | Photographs, stories, films, music, sounds of and with Monika Bulaj.

Sono riflessi di un’unica luce i racconti di viaggio di Monika Bulaj… Ma quello che più impressiona di questo mondo … è la quotidianità di gesti ed espressioni, l’universalità di usanze a prima vista così particolari, la ricchezza di umanità che traspare da paesaggi, figure, racconti… un fotogramma o una parola possono esaudire il comandamento biblico della memoria, possono rendere nuovamente presente ciò che non è mai passato, perché appartiene al futuro dell’umanità. | Padre Enzo Bianchi (La Stampa, Torino)

This work has evolved over the years. Initially I used to document the minor and main religions in the shadow of the wars of yesterday and today. At a certain point my photographs sought me out, speaking for themselves, saying prayers and recounting dreams, of water and fire, memories, the theatre of the Festival of the Dead, of the travels of song. What I do today is something so simple, almost childlike: I retrieve the fragments of a large broken mirror, millions of fragments, that don’t go together, splinters, specks, maybe bricks from the Tower of Babel… Maybe this is all a photographer can do: gather up the pieces of a mosaic that will never be complete, put it together in a way that seems to fit, or the only way possible, dreaming of the whole picture of the world that may perhaps exist somewhere, or once was and is now lost, like Adam’s language.


About Us

Monika Bulaj is an award-winning photojournalist, reporter, documentary film-maker, human right activist, performer and educator, based in Italy. Her work on minorities at risk, nomads, faiths and shared sacredness in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Africa, and Caribbean, has been recognized by The Aftermath Project Grant, Leonian Award & W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, TED Fellowship, Bruce Chatwin Special Award, Grant in Visual Arts from the European Association for Jewish Culture, and other awards and nominations. She has studied Polish Philology at the University of Warsaw, and also anthropology, philosophy, theology. She speaks eight languages.
Bulaj’s work has appeared in The Guardian, Granta Magazine, National Geographic, The New York Times, TIME, Courier International, RevueXXI, La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera, Al Jazeera, and GEO, among others. She has published 10 books, the latest being Nur. Afghan Diaries with National Geographic (in Polish) and Where Gods Whisper, with Contrasto (in English and Italian). She has displayed her work in more than 90 personal exhibitions around the world.
Bulaj was the first women to receive the Italian National NonViolence Award “for her work as a photographer, reporter, and documentary-maker which sheds lights on humanity living in the most hidden yet most evident boundaries on earth, for showing war through its consequences, for investigating mankind’s soul, our eagerness for religiosity, tenderness, and dignity. Bulaj makes the invisible visible by exploring people’s soul, by uniting humanity in an image.”
Monika acts in a “performing reportage” at the theatre, as storyteller: Where Gods Whisper, Broken Songlines, Sacrum in figura, Far from where, Kabul night, Invisible geographies, Auras, Sacred Crossings, with images , films, sounds, songs and stories written by her. She is teacher of photography, street theater, and dance on stilts, for children in ghettos or at-risk communities. She travels across Europe with her lectures: hosted by universities, art festivals, global conferences and small villages. Monika collaborates for many radios as well, both in Poland and in Italy, and with TV, for Repubblica TV and for Rai TV Educational. She has realized a documentary movie: “Noah’s Sons” in Azerbaijan, and has screen-written documentaries, among which the movie “Romani Rat” on the Holocaust of the Roms, where she had also a leading role and was a storyteller.

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