“TranSpiRituals” is an exhibit by Czech photographer Vojtech Vlk, demonstrating the powerful energy and wonder behind centuries-old ritualistic, sacred performances across the globe.
Vlk’s photos at the Nikon Photo Gallery, all set in black and white, mostly show worshippers in the middle of their rituals, capturing pivotal points of the ceremonies. His portraits reflect a sense of calmness and awe, shown particularly in the eyes, which appear to act as a portal between the inner and outer worlds.
Vlk has documented many types of lesser-known religious practices, since the 90s, from Hinduism to Catholicism in countries including India, Mexico, Philippines, Spain (Andalucia), and the Czech Republic. The photos spur a curiosity in the viewer by exposing unknown practices, which most of us would never see in everyday life.
Some of the most eccentric traditions include a sadhu from Varanasi in India, who has wrapped his penis around a bamboo stick, and Filipinos literally re-enacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. These Catholics pierce their skin and suffer like Jesus did out of tradition. Meanwhile, viewers can only look at such acts with astonishment
Vlk’s photographs look past the oddities and seize the true wonder of the moment. His photos take viewers on a spiritual journey through the unknown.
This exhibition closes April 3rd and admission is free.
By Sarah Walsh
Ujezd 19, Prague 1 (Mala Strana)
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, noon-7pm