Photographer David Melcalf Travelling Home with Borneo Tribe
In the face of threats to Borneo’s cultural history, New Zealand-born photographer David Metcalf is seeking to help reunite the North Kalimantan Kenya Dayak tribe with their ancestral homelands.
Environmentalists estimate that over 52 per cent of Kalimantan’s forests has already been lost to logging and dam projects.
As with many indigenous peoples throughout Indonesia, the Kenya is hampered by poverty. As such, they can’t afford the cost of the journey to an area of forests which the tribe calls Tala Olen, or “the forbidden forest.”
Metcalf seeks to provide the means for the villagers to revisit their homelands, a passage that he intends to chronicle in a film he will title The Journey Home.
“I came up with the idea of granting the tribe their dream of visiting their ancestors’ burial grounds deep in the heart of the forest,” says Bali-based Metcalf, adding that the journey entails more than the just the nostalgia of homecoming.
“We need to raise funds to make the film. As things currently stand, the logistics are only sufficient to take six elders to Long Saan.”
Metcalf is putting on a fundraiser at the opening of an exhibition on indigenous photography in Jakarta’s Kunstkring Paleis cultural exhibition hall on 12 August.
He is the author of Indonesia’s Hidden Heritage: Cultural Journeys of Discovery, a chronicle of his travels through Indonesia. Metcalf leads photographic tours throughout Indonesia.
Original article by Tunggul Wirajuda, Jakarta Globe, July 14, 2014.