Late on 13 June 2015 heavy rainfalls hit Tbilisi and the nearby areas. By the morning, 19 people would be dead. Many families were now homeless, a zoo destroyed, and a city in shock. The city became a wilderness full of dangerous beasts.
The zoo lost more than 300 animals. The majority, killed by flooding. Several survivors — a hippopotamus, big cats, wolves, bears, and hyenas—escaped from destroyed pens and cages to the streets of Tbilisi. Some were killed, others recaptured and brought back to the zoo.
Many Georgians condemned the foreign media’s focus on the zoo and their indifference to the stories of the human victims.
Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, an influential head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, in his Sunday sermon, blamed the floods on the "sin" of the former Communist regime. Which, he said, built the zoo in its current location using money raised from destroying churches and melting down their bells.
Merlini uses the photographic medium to transform reality into what seems fantastic. Creating metaphors and symbolisms. Making photographs look surreal and suspended between perception and meaning.
With 'The Flood', the photographer attempts to dare the viewer's self-confidence. Making them read this story from a new point of view.
80 pp, Hardcover
Published by Void, 2021
17 x 23 cm