What matters is being human
Sharjah 24: Photography enthusiasts got a rare glimpse into the world of award-winning Macedonian-Australian photographer, Biljana Jurukovski, on the opening day of the Xposure International Photography Festival as she led them on a moving journey of discovery self inspired by his passion for photography.
“If you accept new people, they will accept you too,” she said, while explaining how she found her true calling, photographing tribes from diverse cultures around the world. Elaborating on a historic journey with the Surma people of southwestern Ethiopia in 2014, she said: “You must completely strip yourself of all your titles. You could be a CEO or a senior corporate executive, but nothing matters. What matters is being human and showing them the love and respect to be accepted as one of them.
Jurukvoski, who moved to Australia with her husband when she was 21 after growing up in her native Macedonia, said it was her upbringing in a traditional system that ultimately helped bring her closer to her job. “As human beings, we are like trees; it all starts with the roots. My roots have had a huge impact on who I am today.
She said: “I was born and raised in Macedonia with a very traditional upbringing in a strong culture and it is deeply embedded in me.”
“Unlike Macedonia, Australia is very multicultural, and that led to a fascination with other cultures. But I kept asking myself: how do I showcase my cultural heritage and that’s where photography helped me. Photographing tribal cultures helped me find the answers to the questions I was asking myself,” she said, while detailing the start of her passionate journey.
In 2014, Jurukvoski took “a step into the unknown” as a photo of a boy holding a Kalashnikov from Ethiopia’s Mursi tribe held her captive. “I decided to find these tribes myself and photograph them. It was the journey where fear was overcome by curiosity,” said the mother-of-two who traveled to West Africa while in the grip of the devastating Ebola virus.
Jurukvoski, who has since focused his art on capturing moving portraits of different cultures around the world over the past seven years, described his time spent with Kazakh eagle hunters in Mongolia’s Altai Mountains as a turning point in his life. “The outcome was magical and that’s where it all started,” said the photographer, who has since traveled to Africa several times, fascinated by the beauty of tribes like Surma, Mursi, Arbore, Hamar and Karo, who all share body taste. extravagant paintings and decorations inspired by nature.
Jurukvoski’s collection of photographs in the series ‘Tribal Muses – The Avant-Garde of the Tribal World’ depict Surma Tribe gear and can be seen at Xposure 2022, which continues its run at Expo Center Sharjah from 10am to 10 p.m. until Tuesday, February 15.