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B&WEuropeStoryGift for others by Valentin Sidorenko

Sasha is 45 years old. His grandmother was a spiritual healer, and he inherited her talent. Sasha believes he can talk to spirits and improve the fate of others, but he needs alcohol to do that since alcohol is his mediator.

Sasha is 45 years old. His grandmother was a spiritual healer, and he inherited her talent. Sasha believes he can talk to spirits and improve the fate of others, but he needs alcohol to do that since alcohol is his mediator.

Sasha is living in Rubtsovsk city, Altai Krai. The city is known for correctional colonies. Many inhabitants of the city are former prisoners. Sasha has never been in prison, but he’s done some things in his past he’s not too proud of.  He is a regular churchgoer. His belief doesn’t prevent him from being healer.

There are a lot of conflicts in his family because of his heavy drinking. And often Sasha leaves his home and goes to his mother’s place. His mother is a healer too, and she understands Sasha’s need to heal, but she believes he can do it without alcohol. ‘I drink, and will drink when I want to,’ says Sasha. He looks for the opportunity to leave his cage, and find some person who needs his help. 

I know Sasha for a long time. He is part of my family. He reads a lot, he is a witty person. As he always says: ‘Alexander means ‘Protector’’. But there was always a dark side of him. When he drunk, everything went into pieces. And I began to ask myself, why is he drinking? Is it a problem that is inevitable for his generation? A year ago I found out about his talent, and this story started to develop. I understand this conflict between him and his family, however, despite this, the family is the most important thing for Sasha.

About Valentin Sidorenko

Valentin Sidorenko is a visual artist and documentary photographer. He was born in 1995 in a small town Gornyak, which is situated in Altay Territory on the border of Russia and Kazakhstan, where landscapes full of endless steppes. Valentin Sidorenko first studied animation and multimedia before turning his attention to art, and working in the beginning in documentary field. His career has spanned different media – photography, collage, book format, multimedia and documentary films. Sidorenko is interested in subjects of social and family relations, personal boundaries, myths, fears, silence and love. He believes that his works could find reasons of family, social and personal problems, yet they are also autobiographical, drawing on his personal experience. He now lives and works in Moscow, Russia.  [Official Website]

Sasha is in at his mom’s house, at the room for heling people. He said it’s impossible to do this without prayers. It is a reason why he invokes the Holy Ghost and the ancestral Spirits before the therapy.

Since childhood, Sasha has been known how to navigate the wood and to have a knowledge of herbs. A talent he learned from his grandmother. He was living at her house in the village for a while. «There are dimensions, where wood goblin and devil are living. It’s all here, just see it.»

Sasha goes into the church to say a prayer for his ancestors
 «I’ve got the gift from ancestors. I can smell everything in the world. It gets shame sometimes because I can see right through them.»

Sasha is embracing his mother and brother
«I was three years old boy. This was the first time that I saw the end of the world. It was in a dream. When I woke up, I told mom this dream. She was wondering and couldn’t understand me. Thereafter I was in trouble, I burned my eyes. Thanks to my mom, I had my vision restored.»

There is no contradiction between Christianity and Paganism for Sasha, that’s why he always wears cross and talisman ’round his neck for protection against evil

Sasha always meets strangers on the street and tries to help them through clairvoyance
«It’s hard to lie for me. Only when the human is shutting me out by the mystical path.»

«I drink to make me feel better. It’s just really hard to be in another world. I get out of this portal, I’m getting unstable, my soul doesn’t know where to stay: here or in another world. I’m so tired of it.»

«Once our family has been cursed out. Now I’m paying for this. I have to be calm and don’t be angry with the people. Also, I can’t fight with people when I got drunk. I do all these things, for sure, after I’m paying for this after doing it again…»

Sasha is singing in the karaoke bar. He leaves family when they have conflicts. Sometimes he returns home next day

Sasha’s whip, which is used for healing session and treatment of people

Sasha is coming home

Sasha is holding the woman’s hand, who was asking for help

Sasha is crossing the river. He said he was being cleansed through the water from negative energy

Sasha’s mom is looking at son after he came home drunk

Sasha is sleeping in mom’s room

Street towards Sasha’s house

«Yes, for me is more easily to heal through alcohol, what can we do. I have a childhood memory about where I’m going and why. Not everyone can really know. It’s hard to live that way. I know you all think I’m crazy. That’s a reason why I’m trying not to discuss these topics.»

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Photo by ©Ryotaro Horiuchi | Japan | Issue#14
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