Friday, 4 March 2011

Amy Johansson: Transcending Pain Through Faith

Photo © Amy Helene Johansson- All Rights Reserved
This is the second post on The Travel Photographer blog for Amy Helene Johansson, who is a Dhaka-based photojournalist covering South Asia. Amy's work was published in leading broadsheets and magazines in the UK and Sweden, including the Sunday Times and Sydsvenska Dagbladet, Amelia and Omvärlden. Her work has been displayed in solo and collaborative exhibitions in Bangladesh, the Czech Republic, Sweden and the UAE.

She has recently joined Kontinent, a Swedish Photojournalist Agency working worldwide, and has featured Transcending Pain Through Faith on its website.

The accompanying text for the photo essay describes the Ashura observance amongst Shia Muslims quite well:
"The crowd is heavy with grief and pulsing with intensity. In the heat of night, the faithful mourn the death of Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, by flagellating themselves with swords and whips until blood runs down their bare backs. For these Shiite Muslims in Bangladesh, the Day of Ashura is a day of remembrance and self-sacrifice. The wounds epitomize the deep sorrow caused by a martyrdom that took place over 1300 years ago. By inflicting such pain, it is believed by some that all sins will be absolved. For others, it is a time to submit to their faith and show devotion to their brethren."
Ashura is held on on the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram. This commemorates the death of Hussein Bin Ali in the battle of Karbala at the hands of Yazid I, the Ummayad Caliph of Syria.