Yinka Elujoba

There is a somewhat apocryphal story told of Michelangelo. It is said that the painter cherished his copy of Dante's Divine Comedy more than anything else he owned. The story also, is that while reading it, he made several sketches inspired by Dante's poetry in the margins.

Later, Pope Julius II summoned Michelangelo to begin work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Michelangelo packed his valuables in a trunk that was to be delivered to Rome by sea while he traveled by land. But—and here's where story turns like a wayward rudder—the ship goes down in a storm, and with it Michelangelo's beloved illustrated Divine Comedy. It is said, that this loss affected the painter so much that his frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are actually an elaboration of his illustrations in the margins of the sunken book.

What I've lost—nothing to be compared with Michelangelo's copy of Divine Comedy in the eye of history, yet more valuable than the Sistine Chapel to me—was your passport falling out of my wallet on the stairs of a plane to Istanbul. It rode away in the wind, into the Turkish night. Ships sink, drowning with them lives, dreams, histories, irrecoverable treasures; but my heart is an indelible roll of film, your photograph will always continue.

02:08pm on 19, February 2019


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