Resting on the west coast of Taketomi, an island on the Yaeyama Archipelago in Southern Okinawa, stands a rock. Surrounded by the movement of the tides of the sea, this rock, named Niran, is unlike other rocks. It stands out from the sea, upright, as if a sculpture on a pedestal of petrified coral. Its magnifying appeal comes from being a sacred rock and upon closer examination, one will find that, it plays a central role in the spiritual ceremonies conducted by female shamans on the island.
Tucked away on the outmost Southern borders of Japan, the Yaeyama Islands are known to house matriarchal communities. Sacred rocks, such as Niran, may be found scattered over the islands forming a spiritual topography of the islands. Both mysterious and captivating, these sacred rocks are the center of gravitation for a belief-system which is a hybrid of Shintoism, Buddhism and Chinese and Micronesian mythologies.
Since 2016, Moti has been returning to the Yaeyama Islands to photograph and document these rocks, as a part of an ongoing research in the use of rocks on the borderline between raw nature and man-made landscapes. Over 30,000 photographs have been assembled for Moti’s latest film, Interwoven, featuring Niran and other sacred rocks on several Yaeyama Islands. The stories, oral histories and mythologies surrounding these rocks point at the all to human nature of storytelling as a way to form a cultural identity.
This online photography project will act as a sort of trailer to a physical exhibition, that will take place at Meyer Riegger, Berlin as soon as the situation will allow.
Every day a new photograph will give an insight into the film, which will be the central work of the exhibition.