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Black Magic Baby Jezus, Chapter I

Birth of Baby Jezus

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Black Magic Baby Jezus by Ramin Aryaie, Chapter I

I met the pastor the day before. He wore a colourful necklace made out of shells and stones, a big cross pendant giving away who he was. He told me a week ago he came back to Namasari, the village he grew up in, for the Christmas holidays. I can see he is in his natural environment, yet I can’t help wondering that he now preaches the religion and way of life of the White Man.

  • Birth of Baby Jezus

At night I hang in my hammock with my head full of thoughts. What is so powerful about this religion that it can convince so many to leave their own? To what degree can white ideas be part of Kastom, the local traditions of this desolate community in the middle of the Pacific? I come from a place where we have only just begun to understand to what extremes the Western way of life leads. I think about the emptiness, the burnouts, the gradual destruction of the planet we live on.

Watching the Ni’van sing Catholic songs, I wonder what our tribal lives must have looked like in the West, long before they made place for the big companies and investors that are now trying to make their way into this local community. Having sailed over from the Western world, I notice how our consumerism and globalization now slowly creep into the bushes and veins of Vanuatu.

  • Birth of Baby Jezus

I think of the pastor and realise I might be just another type of missionary, just another man coming here to travel and preach to the people, urging them to hold onto their traditions, warning them. My mind wanders back to the Church. I can’t help the bitter taste in my mouth. A veil of sadness, a situation I was unable to take seriously.

Photography & Words by Ramin Aryaie
A Film by Ramin Aryaie
Editor in Chief Vincenzo Angileri
Executive Producers Albert Folch, Rafa Martínez & Guille Cascante
Editor Bernat Granados
Script by Valerie Steenhaut
Voiceover by Mads Vine
Edited by Valerie Steenhaut & Bis Turnor
Artwork by John Zabawa
Reading: Ishmael, Daniel Quinn

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Ramin Aryaie

Ramin Aryaie

Experimental visual artist, web designer and film maker
Ramin Aryaie is a german-iranian experimental visual artist, web designer and film maker. His works interweave a variety of mediums and artistic approaches including photography, writing, film, sound, and design. He explores the material world through journalistic web hybrids, images and books and the human soul through abstract films, AV performances and installations. He is the founder of VOIIAGE and co-founder of the Liva Collective as well as a member of Justin Vernon's PEOPLE collective. He has worked and collaborated with artists such as Damien Rice, Justin Vernon, Vincent Moon and s t a r g a z e.
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