The indigenous Mentawai people live in an island group 150km off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. Considered one of the planet’s most ancient tribes, today they are still found deep in the island jungle.
The Mentawai have a unique culture with their own language, totally different from the rest of Indonesia. Most of the older villagers are decorated with tattoos and Mentawai women are known for their sharpened teeth. The men are expert hunters, to this day still using arrows tipped with poison made from the forest.
This exhibition is a testament to their simple way of life and pure sense of self. The monochrome images use contrast in a wider sense, echoing the differences between their uncluttered lives and ours, while playing on the concept of individuality within a group. It is designed to inform by self-questioning prioritisation in the Western world.
The Mentawai of Indonesia is the latest photographic exhibition from Guy Needham, an international photographer noted for his work with indigenous tribes. This exhibition, part of Sydney’s Head On Photo Festival, is the third in his Tribal Series, following on from The Hamar of Ethiopia and The Huli of Papua New Guinea.