The blanket (Karakul)

Marjolein Katsma

Groningen, Netherlands

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Artist's Description

Share this page Photo © 2009 Marjolein Katsma | Text © 2012 Marjolein Katsma

Tags for this photograph:
karakul, kara kul, qaraqul, murghab, murghob, gorno badakhshan, tajikistan, pamirs, poles, electricity, lines, power lines, clothes line, blanket, wash, washing, laundry, white, blue, brown, red

This blanket is an illustration of a story:

Once upon a time, electricity was brought to remote Karakul. It must have been an expensive project, given its distance from anywhere, but – more importantly – maintenance must have been expensive, too, given the harsh weather here especially in winter, and roads being partially washed away by the action of spring melt water.

Once upon a later time, people gave up on it – upkeep was too hard, or too expensive, or both. So Karakul is now a village full of electricity poles, carrying lines no longer carrying power. You can see many of such poles in the distance, and one quite close.

Some people now have a solar panel on the roof, others have a small generator. Our host ran his generator for an hour each evening: just enough to watch television for the latest news and – especially – the weather report and agricultural news. (Many people here keep livestock (or yaks) – it’s too high for agriculture.) There certainly was not enough power for any house guests to recharge their fancy devices…

Given all these poles are there, people re-purpose them, in this case by mounting a clothes line between the legs of the electricity pole. An old blanket is hanging on this one to dry (or to air).

The building in the background illustrates how the ‘house’ part of the outside walls are smoother and maintained better than the wall merely enclosing the yard, even though this has the main gate providing entry to it.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1

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Artwork Comments

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