La Photographie Galerie, Brussels recreates the magic of Jimmy Nelson’s global bestseller Before They Pass Away in their new exhibition to celebrate the release of its upcoming sequel. The exhibition commenced the past week on 9 December 2016 and will continue till 25 March 2017. Nelson has spent four years documenting world’s most indigenous cultures for this ambitious project.

    Before They Pass Away 2 will showcase thirty-one of world’s threatened tribes with stunning imagery of customs, artifacts and insightful portraits of people who serve as sacred guardians of their cultures. The large field camera employed by Nelson captures intricate details and fine nuances of the backdrop of splendid and pristine landscapes.

Woodabe Tribe, Chad

Wodaabe during Guérewol festival, Chad Once a year, the Wodaabe, nomadic cattle-herders and traders, gather their different clans on the central plains of Chad. In their finest costumes, the men dance and sing to impress women of marriageable age. (Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

Wodaabe during Guérewol festival, Chad
Once a year, the Wodaabe, nomadic cattle-herders and traders, gather their different clans on the central plains of Chad. In their finest costumes, the men dance and sing to impress women of marriageable age.
(Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

 

” [The] project is intended to be a controversial catalyst for further discussion as to the authenticity of these fragile disappearing cultures”, reads the official website of La Photographie Galerie. Jimmy is not a studied scientist but has trained himself into an ethnologist and visual anthropologist through his curiosity to find answers. His efforts have created an awareness for a fascinating variety of the culture-and-history charged symbols of the people, reflecting their rites, customs, and traditions, that had hitherto had vanished or never existed.

Marquesans, French Polynesia

Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia The wild horse is an integral part of the Marquesan landscape. The brooding mountains of Temetiou and Fenani of the island of Hiva Oa provide a magnificent backdrop. There are many tattoos, muscles and faces that look like they have been chiselled out of stone. (Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia
The wild horse is an integral part of the Marquesan landscape. The brooding mountains of Temetiou and Fenani of the island of Hiva Oa provide a magnificent backdrop. There are many tattoos, muscles and faces that look like they have been chiselled out of stone.
(Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

These images point to a mere tip of the iceberg. Jimmy has consciously chosen the tribes and cultures, based on their geographical and traditional extravagance, but above all for their illuminating beauty. His fascination for the rapidly vanishing harmony between man and nature takes us to places we thought had disappeared long ago. His cry for attention is so loud that we cannot help but react.

Yangshuo County, Guilin, China

Yangshuo, Guilin, China Cormorant fishing is an ancient traditional method where birds are trained to fish the rivers. To control the birds, the fishermen tie a snare at the base of the bird’s throat that prevents it from swallowing the fish. In Yangshuo, Guilin, a few fishermen still perform this ritual. (Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

Yangshuo, Guilin, China
Cormorant fishing is an ancient traditional method where birds are trained to fish the rivers. To control the birds, the fishermen tie a snare at the base of the bird’s throat that prevents it from swallowing the fish. In Yangshuo, Guilin, a few fishermen still perform this ritual.
(Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

He asks us, will we as a species sever the fragile umbilical cord to our extraordinary primeval past? Thus potentially finding ourselves alone without a cultural purpose. Or will we make a different choice? It is his hope that we can all gather around the digital fireplace of humanity and continue for generations to tell stories such as these.

Rabaris, Ajabgarth, Rajasthan

Ajabgarth Village, Rajasthan, 2012 (Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

Rabaris Tribe, Rajasthan, 2012
(Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

For almost 1,000 years, the Rabari have roamed the deserts and plains of what is today western India. It is believed that this indigenous group, with a peculiar Persian physiognomy, migrated from the Iranian plateau more than a millennium ago. The Rabari are now found largely in Gujarat and Rajasthan. The Rabari women dedicate long hours to embroidery, a vital and evolving expression of their crafted textile tradition. They also manage the hamlets and all money matters while the men are on the move with the herds. The livestock, wool, milk and leather, is their main source of income.

Kazakhs, Bayan Olgii

Altantsogts, Bayan Olgii, 2011 (Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

Kazakh Tribe, Altantsogts, Bayan Olgii, 2011
(Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

The Kazakhs are the descendants of Turkic, Mongolic and Indo-Iranian indigenous groups and Huns that populated the territory between Siberia and the Black Sea. They are a semi-nomadic people and have roamed the mountains and valleys of western Mongolia with their herds since the 19th century. The ancient art of eagle hunting is one of many traditions and skills that the Kazakhs have been able to hold on to for the last decades. They rely on their clan and herds, believing in pre-Islamic cults of the sky, the ancestors, fire and the supernatural forces of good and evil spirits.

The ancient art of eagle hunting is one of many traditions and skills that the Kazakhs have been able to hold on to for the last decades. They rely on their clan and herds, believing in pre-Islamic cults of the sky, the ancestors, fire and the supernatural forces of good and evil spirits.

Quechua, Peru

Quechua, Peru (Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

Quechua, Peru
(Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

Nomadic and colourful horsemen and cowboys of Quechua, Peru have wandered the prairies as early as the 1700s, when wild Cimarron cattle overpopulated the flatlands. In the 18th century, when leather was in high demand, Gauchos arose to clandestinely hunt the huge herds of horses and cattle.

Kunjura, Dha Village, Kashmir

Kunjura, Dha Village, Kashmir (Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

Kunjura, Dha Village, Kashmir
(Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

Around 2,500 Drokpas live in three small villages in a disputed territory between India and Pakistan. The only fertile valley of Ladakh. The Drokpas are completely different– physically, culturally, linguistically and socially – from the Tibeto-Burman inhabitants of most of Ladakh.

For centuries, the Drokpas have been indulging in public kissing and wife-swapping without inhibitions. Their cultural exuberance is reflected in exquisite dresses and ornaments. Their main sources of income are products from the well-tended vegetable gardens.

Maori, Hawaiki

(Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

(Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

The long and intriguing story of the origins of the indigenous Maori people can be traced back to the 13th century, the mythical homeland Hawaiki, Eastern Polynesia. Due to centuries of isolation, the Maori established a distinct society with characteristic art, a separate language and unique mythology.

Defining aspects of Maori traditional culture include art, dance, legends, tattoos and community. While the arrival of European colonists in the 18th century had a profound impact on the Maori way of life, many aspects of traditional society have survived into the 21st century.

Banna Tribe, Southern Omo Valley

Banna Tribe, Southern Omo Valley (Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

Banna Tribe, Southern Omo Valley
(Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

The Omo Valley, situated in Africa’s Great Rift Valley, southwest Ethiopia, is home to an estimated 200,000 indigenous peoples who have lived there for millennia. The Banna, approximately 45,000 in number, are a mainly agricultural people who inhabit the highlands east of the Omo River.

Like other indigenous groups, the Banna practise ritual dancing and singing. To prepare for a ceremony, they paint themselves with white chalk mixed with yellow rock, red iron ore and charcoal. The biggest ceremony in a man’s life is called Dimi, to celebrate his daughter for fertility and marriage.

Mundari, Southern Sudan

Mundari, Mayong, South Soudan, Africa, 2016 (Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

Mundari, Mayong, South Sudan, Africa, 2016
(Photo: Jimmy Nelson, Courtesy: La Photographie Galerie)

South Sudan, world’s youngest country which gained independence in 2011 is home to the about two million tribal people and rifts run deep, permeating political affairs.

Living in the very tumult are the Mundari tribe, who go on with doing what they do best from ages: herding and looking after their cattle.

With inputs from La Photographie Galerie and Before They