Vlad Sokhin (Russia/Portugal) , a documentaryÂ photographer, has lived and worked in Russia, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Mozambique and Australia, Papua New Guinea and other Asia-Pacific countries.
Vlad has worked on photo projects, collaborating with various international media and with the United Nations and international NGOs. Vladâs work covers social, cultural, environmental, health and human rights issues around the world and has been exhibited and published internationally. In 2010 he began a project that aims to document a spiritual society of the Chewa people named Nyau in Mozambique, called the âThe Nyau Dancersâ , which won the Grand Award in HPA 2013.
In Mozambique, Nyau members keep their secrets carefully, using a complicated system based on passwords and signs and hidden from the uninitiated people. Therefore, in the course of documenting this mysterious project, Vlad actually lived with the members for several months, joined the brotherhood of the society and took part in their great dance to be able to get the permission of the photos taken, in the form of following their ritual procedure, dressing their scary mask and costume.
The Nyau masquerade dances, called Gule Wamkulu appear during public holidays, anniversaries and funerals and participants dance the night away. Gule Wamkulu ceremonies are practiced only in the Tete Province of Mozambique and the other two African countries. The dances were rarely known to the people in other regions of the world. Therefore, Vladâs âThe Nyau Dancersâ opens a window of culture to us and has enriched our knowledge of diverse cultures.