Silhouettes of beachgoers framed by the shimmering, calm waves of the sea.
Silhouettes of beachgoers framed by the shimmering, calm waves of the sea.
Spring 2024

Hues of Inheritance

A Note from the Editors

How do we illustrate what the past has bestowed upon us? Can we capture the glimmers of whimsy, the shadows of conquest, the mirage of misconception? Or, in some cases, does the legacy live on within us, waiting for the right moment?

In the spring 2024 issue of Hidden Compass, five inquisitive storytellers step headfirst into the varying “Hues of Inheritance” — bringing you stories of the dark, enchanting, hazy, and vivid manifestations of what we’ve received from the conquerors, artists, soldiers, travelers, and defiant civilians that came before us.

Below the transcendent and bedazzled golden architecture of the Gur-e-Amir in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the crypt of Timur the Conqueror is said to possess an ancient curse. In his Chasing Demons feature, author Craig K. Collins ventures into the mausoleum complex alone, bringing to life the history and legend of “The Curse of Timur” — along with the brutal conquerors it so hauntingly connects.

After exploring a legacy of bloodshed, we turn to a different kind of inheritance. Time-worn images of a certain Caribbean island lure in millions of travelers annually — and have captivated writer and photographer Ella Calland for years. But beneath these vivid photographs of baby blue buildings and smoky cigars lies a more complicated truth. For our Portrait photo feature, Calland treads the path of Cuba’s tourists, pointing her lens at an often exoticized world. As she steps into “Postcards From Cuba,” she unearths what lies beneath the veneer of nostalgia. 

On the other side of the world, the past looms over the crowded dance floor of Lukiškės, a nightclub with a bloody history. These young Lithuanians, like their Baltic neighbors, stand once again in the shadow of Russian aggression. But in our second Chasing Demons story, journalist Tim Brinkhof finds it’s not only the horrors of the past that reemerge — so too do the many “Shades of Defiance.” 

While some hues of inheritance are dark, others are full of magic. In the frenzied workrooms where beloved characters first came to life, the pioneers of animation broke glass and lit fires in their Quest to capture the physical world on paper. Long after these innovators left their slanted desks, writer Heather M. Surls explores their legacy — in all its shapes and forms — and discovers the enduring strokes of obsession, enchantment, imagination, and family history that bloomed from the whimsical works of Disney’s “Hyperion” Studio.

Then, following the life and letters of Basil Hase Delaney Ankerson, a young man conscripted to fight in WWII at just 20 years old, journalist Tim Bird journeys to the sand-blown Egyptian desert and back in time. Adventure and peril converge across continents and generations as Bird’s Time Travel feature, The Time of His Life,” takes us into the haze of the legendary Battles of El Alamein — where questions abound, and one man’s story is tied to the fate of thousands.

For our readers and storytellers who appreciate all the shades of legacy,

Sabine K. Bergmann and Sivani Babu, Hidden Compass Co-founders