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Ethiopian tribes in pictures: Snapshots from most remote and beautiful parts of Africa

Despite being in little contact with technological advancement, the Omo tribes possess modern weapons and ammunition. Take a peek into their life.

art and culture Updated: Nov 06, 2018 11:39 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Latika Nath,Ethiopia,Body painting
Over 150 images from wildlife biologist and photographer Latika Nath’s collection are exhibited at Omo — Where Time Stood Still, an art exhibition in Delhi.

Where mankind is said to have originated, an eclectic celebration of life exists even today. It’s here that fruits become part of colourful headgear and plates are inserted in the lower lips of women. And a glimpse of such traditions of the tribes of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia can be caught in the work of the wildlife biologist and photographer Latika Nath. Over 150 images from her collection will be exhibited at Omo — Where Time Stood Still.

The photographs on display show the skill the Omo tribes possess in body painting and their expertise with creating accessories out of basic resources. “It began three years ago when I planned to visit Ethiopia to photograph the rarest wolf in the world,” says Nath.

The photographs on display show the skill the Omo tribes possess in body painting and their expertise with creating accessories out of basic resources.

By and by, her list of subjects to photograph grew, but just reaching the valley took months to plan. With modern development knocking at their door, the time was ripe for Nath to capture the tribes in their natural habitat. “I had to drive and fly for hours to get to the remote place that these tribes live in, but I did all that because I really wanted to see these people before they get integrated in modern society,” says Nath.

Catch it live
  • What: Omo — Where Time Stood Still
  • Where: Bikaner House, Pandara Road, India Gate
  • On till: November 12
  • Timing: 10.30am to 6.30pm
  • Nearest Metro Station: Khan Market on Violet Line

Having travelled to the country in the middle of a political emergency, when she finally reached the valley, Nath was shocked to see that despite being in little contact with technological advancement, the tribespeople possessed modern weapons and ammunition.

“I saw tribesmen carrying AK47 to protect their cattle and their villages from raids by other tribesmen. This has got to the point that to buy brides, the normal rate is 35 cattle and one AK47,” reveals Nath, who turned photographer since she felt she could “draw more attention using photographs than with scientific papers”.

The biologist also witnessed the “horrific” lip plate insertion ceremony, thought to add to women’s beauty and increase her bridal worth. Nath is now compiling a five-volume book on these tribes.

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First Published: Nov 06, 2018 11:39 IST