Mike Mike

Born in 1988, Michele Cirillo is a photojournalist and professor of photography in Rome interested in the use of photography as a tool to tell stories from around the world.
He traveled in countries like Mexico, Ecuador, Tanzania, Kurdistan, Turkey, Bosnia and Palestine to document different cultures, ethnic group, and geopolitical reality.

Collections created

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The Kurdish Bride (Editing)
(Edit)
By Mike
08 Feb 2017

Texts and photographs by Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti.

 

Premise

Only scratched the surface by the passing of time, by the Islamic conquest and other foreign dominations, the Kurdish culture is now in danger of being forgotten, or worse, losing its true identity, confused in recent years with the Muslim or Turkish tradition. Put through to the Ottoman Empire and then divided by the Western powers in the four states of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, in the last ninety years, the Kurds have been victims of persecutions and slaughters that occurred with greater ferocity in Turkey, where a regime of forced repression resented every expression of their cultural identity. “Mountain Turks”. As Turks called Kurdish people. But in those mountains, dominated by the great Ararat, unquestionably still persist the flavors of ancient and specific traditions, traces of a thousand-years old past, vestiges of a precise and recognizable identity. Among those mountains, the first days of the wedding of Sükran and Samet took place, a symbolic union, especially because of their origins and historical events: Sükran is Kurdish, Samet is Turkish. Our journey starts here. In August 2014, at Xarik place as first, in Eastern Anatolia, and at Yozgat then, in Central Anatolia.

The Wedding

In the social structure Kurdish family is considered an inseparable unit: it is the core on which dipend the whole society and its importance is manifested on the occasion of a marriage. Specifically, the Sükran and Samet wedding party lasted five days: the first part of the celebrations was held in the bride family home, in the altitudes of Xarik, with sober characters although colored. The remaining four days of celebrations, took place, with the most sumptuous atmospheres, in the groom's family house. In Yozgat, a Turkish small town. The criteria that direct the marriage of two young people often depend on the relationship between their families. Even if there is not anymore the custom to give in marriage young girls, young men have some freedom of choice, young women even less, waiting for a sincere marriage proposal. The history of Sükran and Samet, fortunately, is a different story.

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Cyprus: the divided island
Cyprus
By Mike
16 Jan 2017

The history of the island of Cyprus is one of the oldest in the world. Rich in natural beauty, the island is located between three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa, and this has always been considered the land of an extremely strategic geographic position, so it attract the great powers, which, throughout history, have had significant influence on this area. Despite the foreign alternation, the Cypriot people has been able to absorb external influence without ever losing their identity. After the end of British colonial era, in 1960 Cyprus became an independent and sovereign state until 1974, the year that marks an attempted coup from the greek state, which followed by the turkish military intervention. Since that date the whole territory of Cyprus is been divided into two areas: the North State, under Turkish protection, not recognized by the international community, and the South State, with Greek ethnicity, universally regarded as the only Republic of Cyprus.

This decades-long division has affected both parts of the country in both political and economic terms until it got to the tough economic crisis that began in 2012. The two republics of the island are still separated by a buffer zone called the "Green Line", marked with signs, barbed wire, sandbags and mined areas. The area is currently manned by a multinational contingent of UN peacekeepers (UNFICYP).

In recent months the negotiations between the two entities, greek Cypriot and Turkish, have intensified and despite the failed advanced reconciliation proposals in the past, never as in this moment a new future for the island seems more close and possible.

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The sweet hospitality
Riace
By Mike
16 Jan 2017

Riace is a town of about 1,726 inhabitants near Reggio Calabria, well-known for the discovery, in 1972, the famous Riace Bronzes, two bronze statues of Greek origin discovered in an exceptional state of conservation just 200 meters from the coast of Riace Marina.

Since 2004, thanks to the hospitality of the mayor Domenico Lucano policies, the country and in particular the old town depopulated, he gave hospitality to more than 6,000 asylum seekers from 20 different countries, integrating them in the city cultural fabric and introducig them into the employment of the small village, making the city of Riace come back to a new life. The mayor Domenico figure at the 40th place in the world ranking of the 50 influential men in the American magazine Fortune.

It all started in 1998, with the landing of 200 refugees from Kurdistan in Riace Marina. The association Città Futura (dedicated to the Sicilian priest killed by the mafia, Don Giuseppe Puglisi) decided to help immigrants just landed giving them the available old houses abandoned by their owners, long gone from the country.

Thanks to his inclusion policies, the mayor of Riace has managed not only to offer hospitality to refugees (now 400 across the country), but also to all illegal immigrants with right of asylum, keeping alive the primary importance services like school by funding the small town with micro entrepreneurial activities related to crafts such as textiles and ceramic workshops as well as bars and bakeries to get to the the recycling door to door collection, guaranteed by two non-European and transported through the use of donkeys.

In order to cover the delay of the Community contribution, in the country runs a special currency in denominations of 10, 20 and 50 euro, that immigrants can use for daily costs, waiting for the European funds.

The immigrants integration is ensured by approximately 70 cultural mediators employed by the municipal authorities and part of Sprar system (Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees), born to propose, beyond the measures of assistance and protection to individual beneficiaries, the process of social and economic integration of which seems Riace is a promoter.

Media created

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Yozgat
By Mike
10 Aug 2014

Yozgat (Central Anatolia, Turkey).
The bride getting ready to consecrate the entrance of the house where she will live from that day onwards.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Yozgat
By Mike
10 Aug 2014

Yozgat (Central Anatolia, Turkey).
Offers and gifts of friends and family are noted, communicated and then gathered in front of everyone.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Yozgat
By Mike
10 Aug 2014

Yozgat (Central Anatolia, Turkey).
The civil marriage between spouses imperatively come first the religious one, then celebrated by the Imam, according to Islamic ritual.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Yozgat
By Mike
10 Aug 2014

Yozgat (Central Anatolia, Turkey).
A long procession of friends and relatives, follows and accompanies the bride and groom "on the run" in the high woodlands of Yozgat.
Drums and dances confirm again the week of celebrations.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Yozgat
By Mike
10 Aug 2014

Yozgat (Central Anatolia, Turkey).
It is up to the eldest brother of Sükran ties a red ribbon around her wast, as a fertility omen.
Soon will come the groom, followed by all the relatives and friends, to simulate the bride’s kidnapping.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Yozgat
By Mike
09 Aug 2014

Yozgat (Central Anatolia, Turkey).
The Kurdish hospitality ritual is showed definitely with the chai offering, the traditional black tea, served in typical cylindrical cups, which accompanies every moment of their days.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Yozgat
By Mike
09 Aug 2014

Yozgat (Central Anatolia, Turkey).
As well as in the Kurdish tradition, also here great importance is given to dances. Celebrations continue into the night.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Yozgat
By Mike
09 Aug 2014

Sükran and Samet just before the start of new celebrations, are leaving the house, accompanied by their witnesses, to meet guests and relatives. All marriage rituals take place within the space of a courtyard, the entrance access road to the house.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Doğubayazıt
By Mike
05 Aug 2014

Xarik is a village located outside the town, in the countryside of high altitude surrounding Doğubeyazıt, a dusty frontier town with Iran and Armenia, provincial district of Ağrı (in Eastern Anatolia). And above all, at the feet of Mount Ararat. Here the population is mainly of Kurdish origin.
In the village life runs in a cyclic manner but not ordered. It grows quickly and the only genuine concern seems to pour on the thought of having a family and children.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Yozgat
By Mike
08 Aug 2014

Yozgat (Central Anatolia, Turkey).
Leaving the parental home of the bride, relatives, friends and spouses moving in the Turkish city, groom’s country of origin, where they will continue new preparations, ceremonies and celebrations of Turkish tradition.
Usually the bridal's party can last from two days to a week, according to the budget, and is traditionally held in the groom’s house, entirely organized by his family that reveal the bride as a new member.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Doğubayazıt
By Mike
05 Aug 2014

Xarik (Doğubayazıt, Kurdistan).
During celebrations, friends and relatives, mainly women and children from the village, are still coming.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Doğubayazıt
By Mike
05 Aug 2014

Xarik (Doğubayazıt, Kurdistan).
The universe of Kurdish women in the villages on the mountains is only within the home and family, where traditional society strongly marked the space division by gender.
Their freedom, the opportunity to study as well as to carry out work outside of the household, is severely limited by social customs. Nevertheless, Kurdish women are not binded as in other parts of the Muslim world. In fact, they cover their heads but wearing the veil is not an obligation.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Doğubayazıt
By Mike
05 Aug 2014

Xarik (Doğubayazıt, Kurdistan).
Şükran and Samet. 20 years both. After three years of phone only relationship decide to get married. In Xarik, marry a Turkish man is a good omen, it is a liberation from poverty of the village. But according to tradition, to propose in marriage Kurdish girls mostly are Turkish men suffering from physical and mental disabilities or elderly people, nearly always marginalized. In exchange for the hand of his daughter, the bride's father receives, by agreement, a large dowry. For Sükran and Samet wedding no dowry has been agreed.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Doğubayazıt
By Mike
06 Aug 2014

Xarik (Doğubayazıt, Kurdistan).
A baby sleeps in one of the rooms of the house, on the morning after celebrations.
Domestic environments are simple, without furniture. All equipedd with rugs and pillows, the few rooms in the house, beyond the kitchen, are used as dormitory nightlong.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Doğubayazıt
By Mike
05 Aug 2014

Xarik (Doğubayazıt, Kurdistan).
While men are out of the house intent on drinking tea and smoking, women gather together in a room to dance. The govend is the most typical Kurdish dance: group dances performed in-line or semicircle by men and women mainly separated.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Xarik
By Mike
01 Aug 2014

Xarik (Doğubayazıt, Kurdistan).
Şükran and Samet, in the bride family home, waiting for the arrival of relatives and friends of the village.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Doğubayazıt
By Mike
01 Aug 2014

Xarik (Doğubayazıt, Kurdistan).
Exclusively women, of the family or neighbours of the village, contribute to wedding preparations, such as packaging îmîş, bags filled with roasted chickpeas and dried fruit, offered to the guests as party favors.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Doğubayazıt
By Mike
05 Aug 2014

Xarik (Doğubayazıt, Kurdistan).
The universe of Kurdish women in the villages on the mountains is only within the home and family, where traditional society strongly marked the space division by gender.
Their freedom, the opportunity to study as well as to carry out work outside of the household, is severely limited by social customs. Nevertheless, Kurdish women are not binded as in other parts of the Muslim world. In fact, they cover their heads but wearing the veil is not an obligation.

Thumb sm
Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Yozgat
By Mike
08 Aug 2014

Yozgat (Central Anatolia, Turkey).
Leaving the parental home of the bride, relatives, friends and spouses moving in the Turkish city, groom’s country of origin, where they will continue new preparations, ceremonies and celebrations of Turkish tradition.
Usually the bridal's party can last from two days to a week, according to the budget, and is traditionally held in the groom’s house, entirely organized by his family that reveal the bride as a new member.

Thumb sm
Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Doğubayazıt
By Mike
06 Aug 2014

Xarik (Doğubayazıt, Kurdistan).
A baby sleeps in one of the rooms of the house, on the morning after celebrations.
Domestic environments are simple, without furniture. All equipedd with rugs and pillows, the few rooms in the house, beyond the kitchen, are used as dormitory nightlong.

Thumb sm
Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Doğubayazıt
By Mike
05 Aug 2014

Xarik (Doğubayazıt, Kurdistan).
During celebrations, friends and relatives, mainly women and children from the village, are still coming.

Thumb sm
Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Doğubayazıt
By Mike
05 Aug 2014

Xarik (Doğubayazıt, Kurdistan).
While men are out of the house intent on drinking tea and smoking, women gather together in a room to dance. The govend is the most typical Kurdish dance: group dances performed in-line or semicircle by men and women mainly separated.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Xarik
By Mike
01 Aug 2014

Xarik (Doğubayazıt, Kurdistan).
Şükran and Samet, in the bride family home, waiting for the arrival of relatives and friends of the village.

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Michele Cirillo and Emanuela Laurenti...
Doğubayazıt
By Mike
01 Aug 2014

Xarik (Doğubayazıt, Kurdistan).
Exclusively women, of the family or neighbours of the village, contribute to wedding preparations, such as packaging îmîş, bags filled with roasted chickpeas and dried fruit, offered to the guests as party favors.

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Cyprus divided-island 25
Cyprus
By Mike
20 Aug 2016

The lighting of one of the mountains of the Turkish Cyprus, representing the turkish Cypriot flag.

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Cyprus divided-island 23
Cyprus
By Mike
20 Aug 2016

In Cyprus, the art of fishing still uses traditional methods; the collection of sponges is widely practiced throughout the island.

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Cyprus divided-island 21
Cyprus
By Mike
20 Aug 2016

A turkish souvenir seller, in the Kyrenia's port.

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Cyprus divided-island 20
Cyprus
By Mike
20 Aug 2016

An elderly woman lights a candle in a church.
The Orthodox Christian community of Cyprus is one of the oldest in the world. They are the 80% of the island population.

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Cyprus divided-island 18
Cyprus
By Mike
20 Jul 2016

Kyrenia. Two tourists posing in front of the statue of the national hero, the turkish Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

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Cyprus divided-island 19
Cyprus
By Mike
20 Aug 2016

Muslim women to Kyrenia market, in the north of Cyprus.

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Cyprus divided-island 17
Cyprus
By Mike
20 Aug 2016

Mihalis, 48, runs a hotel near the buffer zone that needs urgent renovation. The price per room is 15 euro for the week end.

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Cyprus divided-island 16
Cyprus
By Mike
20 Aug 2016

Inside an old shop placed near the green line.

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Cyprus divided-island 14
Cyprus
By Mike
20 Aug 2016

Nicosia north, two Turkish boys walking in front of a house destroyed by the conflict in 1973.