Wokabout Niugini

Wokabout Niugini

Open View: Monday 15th Jan, 6:00pm

“There are no races, but rather human diversities” – Ryszard Kapuściński

I started traveling when I was 18 years old driven by the need to know and learn, and that curiosity led me to “exotic lands” right from my beginnings in an era where the technology was still very much limited compared to the present days. I traveled a long time without a camera until one day I decided to show the beauty and cultural richness of everything I was seeing, to tell stories of other people and other places.

Years later, I was lucky enough to join a group of nature photographers where I learned photography techniques, precision, patience and the importance of focusing with respect and dignity to the world around us.

This constituted for me a turning point and although my field has always been anthropology those teachings allowed me to tell my own stories about many of the over 60 countries that I visited.

“Wokabaut Niugini” was born as a project to document one of the most remote places in the world where traditions, cultures and ancestral languages are still preserved in most of its territory. Papua New Guinea is a country with one of the largest diversities in the world where more than 800 languages and ethnic groups are concentrated living side by side. People and remote villages have been ignored until relatively recent dates because, despite its discovery in the early sixteenth century, remained isolated until the late eighteenth century.

This particularity has allowed them to maintain their idiosyncrasy in which there is a close balance between man and nature. A natural environment where their biological and cultural evolution unfolds through an enormous variety of human groups that endlessly disseminate, generation after generation, sophisticated life and death ceremonies full of meaning, value and dignity.

All their artistic manifestations constitute an overwhelming cultural heritage, although most of them are ephemeral: headdresses of feathers, clothes made with plants and shrubs, body paintings made with natural products and binders whose decorative process can last for hours, days or a whole lifetime.

“Wokabaut Niugini” takes the name from an expression in the local language Tok-Pisin, literally meaning “Through Papua New Guinea”, I wanted to emphasise the importance of preserving one of the most culturally rich and varied corner of the world as well as witnessing the inestimable value of tribal plurality, extolling the beauty of human diversity across the planet as a Universal Cultural Heritage worth of interest and protection.