HERRI IXILEAN – IN THE QUIET COUNTRY

Poster_-Jon-Cazenave

The Basque Country occupies territories that are divided between two states, the north of Spain and the south of France. Although they share a very important part of their culture, there is a big difference and significant distance between these two neighboring realities: what in Euskera, the Basque language, is termed Hegoalde (The Southern Basque Country) and Iparralde /The northern Basque Country).

Jon Cazenave is a young photographer born in San Sebastian (the southern Basque Country): “Some time ago I visited Bayonne and came to a street whose name was Chemin de Cazenave. That was when the idea came to me of tracking the origins of my surname and family”. Jon has developed a project based on a journey, in a quest for information about places, subjects and historical events associated with his surname. The interest lies not only in the discovery of the origins, but in the searching process in Iparralde…starting out from Hegoalde.

A kind of road movie through Euskal Herria (The Basque Country); a personal story which is intimately linked to the territory Herri Ixilean is part of a broader ongoing body of work called GALERNA; a the tribute to the original identity of Land. This land has been inhabited since prehistoric times by the Basques. This continuous presence is explained by the context of the landscape, collected by the mountains and bathed by the Cantabric Sea, that has served as a shelter to a rooted culture and popular customs that are still alive in the 21st century.

But not only have the customs, the Basques also spoken their original language, Euskara, whose origins are lost in history, becoming the only living remnant of European prehistory. Here, nature, history and legend come together with unusual force and create a land of myths and magic that I explore through photography. A land where nature is praised in old rites learned from our ancestors.

These intangible concepts are the beginning point to create a visual imaginary which serves me to understand the society and the land I live in, positioning myself in my environment through photography: “Art for Human” (Jorge Oteiza). Trees, waves, animals and black skies build a symbolic world that I turn into a channel to reach the soul of the Basques, an old soul, the soul of the one who pursues its lost paradise.