14 June 2021

A Cosmology of African Migration

14 June 2021 - Written by PhMuseum

Alisa Martynova’s cinematic use of light and colour drives us through a metaphorical journey in which complex geopolitical dynamics, and the forced migration they trigger, are poetically expressed by means of a cosmological and intimate visual vocabulary.

Here’s a story of a man. A man at the end of a long and exhausting journey to an unknown place, the land he imagined as a castle of clouds that vanished upon reaching it. What remains when the dream disappears? Where could one look for the answers? Would one turn his head to the stars to find the way home?

Almost everything we know about distant reaches of the Universe has come to us via traditional cosmological messengers. Though some claim that there is another type of cosmological messengers - the fastest known stars that are trapped orbiting the supermassive black holes. When two galaxies collide, the supermassive black holes at their centres interact in a way that flings away

orbiting stars out of the merged galaxy at super-high speeds, some of them travelling fast enough to escape their galaxy entirely. If there was a mechanism of tracing them, we ought to be able to see unbound stars travelling across the Universe.

Here’s a story of a man.

A man that leaves his land and pursues his dream physically moving from one place to another, overcoming barriers, struggling to reach his own Eldorado. The dream a man is following is not always only a desire for the future, sometimes it is a nightmare that appears when the dream doesn’t get fulfilled and remains a recurring vision of something that can never be reached.

The project was made in Italy in 2018 - 2020 and explores the phenomenon of African migration.

Words and Pictures by Alisa Martynova.


Alisa Martynova (b. 1994) is a Russian photographer based in Florence, Italy. She is the winner of the Premio Combat Prize, Premio Canon Giovani Fotografi, Zine Tonic Book Award and 2nd place winner of the World Press Photo Contest 2021 Portrait Series Category. She is also a finalist of the PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant, a Leica Oscar Barnack Newcomers Award Nominee and a member of photographic agency Parallelo Zero. Find her on PHmuseum and Instagram.


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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