Wolf


For years Olga was traveling to the disputed regions that don’t exist on world political maps, where the dream of maintaining a national identity and ethos has turned into a losing battle for international recognition. This time she went to the disputed region on the Eastern coast of the Black Sea that was destroyed by civil war straight after the collapse of the Soviet Union.


One night she woke up suffering from terrible pain and has been carried to the local hospital by an unknown man. Few days after an urgent operation he came to check on her. After abdominal bleeding and massive blood loss she needed a place to recover - he offered her to stay at his house till she can walk away afoot. And she took this leap of faith by trusting a stranger.


He calls himself Wolf — the nickname he was given by his war buddies, the symbol of a warrior in a mythology of Caucasus. Wolf’s grandfather was born in a big peasant family in Turkey. In search of a better life he crossed the Black Sea and settled down here, in the prosperous subtropical oasis with tourism based economy that in the early 1990s will become internationally quarantined piece of land. Wolf’s childhood and youth — spent growing up in a large farming family — was a happy one. When the civil war broke out, he was 22. He killed a man for the first time, buried a half of his family, drugged himself for years. In the last days of the war, he survived a land-mine blast that left him scarred and deaf. Post-conflict isolation embittered people and Wolf retreated to the mountains to live life of self-imposed exile. His country became isolated from the rest of the world and he chose to be isolated from the fratricide history of his homeland.


«Twenty years later he brought me to his mountain. Months of life of seclusion aligned us. When I started to walk again he taught me his routine. Everyday hard work on the homestead became our common normalcy. I was coming down from the mountain to find the places and people from his tales, that to my surprise appeared to be real. People from his stories were becoming protagonists for my reportages and exhibitions that were coming out in the different parts of the world as a work of any diligent freelancer. But my own life was already going by the rules of my new imaginary refuge» - Ingurazova says.


***


The two years journey became Olga’s real school of live and storytelling. This single backstage story of Wolf’s life on the mountain has become a symbol of the trauma of the hole country. It is about Wolf, a self exile ex-soldier, and about a young woman journalist who was making her way up. How they’ve been brought together by her unexpected trauma, how she stayed and was living the real life of the region, finding new protagonists for her reportages based on his tales.


Wolf’s interactions with this land and other people were basically happening through his stories and memories. And this time Olga refused to choose between artistic and journalistic approach to show that. When enough time has passed she took all her personal archives from the Wolf's mountain (2014-2016) with intention to put this absolutely true narrative into a documentary fairy tale. She’s started to collaborate with her friend and illustrator to animate photographs with Wolf’s tales he never stopped living inside his head. They came up with an idea to «draw his memories into the image». Like the one where Wolf passes «dead soldiers lying on the battlefield» when he actually is walking in his backyard. Or the one where his daughter, that he never saw again since she was 3 y.o., plays with cats while he works on the homestead. Or where Wolf stands in the ruins of the house where his old sister was killed in the first day of war by an unguided missile and his sister stands behind his back.


"Wolf" is a documentary fairy tale with an unexpected twist ending. Work in progress.  To see and know more contact Olga.

Photographs: Olga Ingurazova.

Illustrations: Alberto Madrigal.


Wolf Story. Olga Ingurazova
Wolf Story. Olga Ingurazova
Wolf Story. Olga Ingurazova
Scars of Independence. Wolf Story. Olga Ingurazova
Wolf Story. Olga Ingurazova
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