Land Self-portraits

For this natural-system self-portrait, I wrapped drawing paper and graphite transfer paper around a cylindrical device reminiscent of a construction tool, or possibly of a prayer wheel. I pushed and pulled the device along the ancient pilgrim trail around Mt. Kailash, in western Tibet. As the cylinder rolled along, each impact against a rock left a mark on the paper, not unlike the way each foot-fall of the pilgrims has left a mark on the land (or the way the land has left its own mark on the millions of people who have circled the mountain). Inside the device was more heavy rag paper, along with rocks from the trailhead and pieces of metal. This mark-making recorded the trails last wishes, or final prayers. The trail is being resurfaced and replaced by roads and a motorized tram as more and more pilgrims travel to this holiest of mountains.

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© 2014-2017 by Aaron Lish