Work in progress
Building wayside crosses and shrines is well rooted in the Christian tradition, and is still present today, especially in rural areas, but not alone. Some say they evolved from the archaic cosmic tree, uniting sky with the earth. According to tradition, they are built near a road or at a crossroad, to indicate the right path, but also near fountains, bridges or places linked to a specific event.
Really old ones, made of wood or stone, are considered historical monuments, valuable art works, with people trying to keep them from decay.
Today, searching the internet, you find a lot of offers from craftsmen and businesses producing them. Searching the land, you find a lot of these shrines bearing the marks of “modern” adaptation. As a result, under the name of wayside cross/shrine there lies a heterogenous collection of traditional artwork and plain kitsch, beautiful paintwork and flashy colours, sculpted wood and double glazing.
No matter the construction form or materials used, there is one thing they share: the traces of an ancient, magical belief, which survived to the day.
“Roadside faith” (work in progress) is documenting the fascinating aesthetic and architectural variety of wayside shrines and crosses spread across Romania and the stories behind them.