Priyanka Kumari
Creative Strategist
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Branching Down the Hill

Artist Statement

‘Pauri Bhuyan’ tribe based in Tasada village is one of the 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups from the 62 tribes of Odisha, India. Today, this village is at a level of innocence where it is filled with contentment but is also disheartened with the life that goes on. There is a sense of ‘business as usual’ for men and women although children and youth are eager to breathe fresh air of change. My visit in the village gave me the glimpse of the curiosity and eagerness among the younger generation, although they seemed to be clueless of their potential.

The people in the village live a life of isolation due to their geographical disability. They remain trapped in the cycle of primitive farming and sustenance. The men are trapped in the vicious circle of alcoholism to forget their woes while for women, life consists of trying to find ways to sustain their homes. The concept of nurturing children for a bright future is somewhere trapped in the cages of the poverty.
The wave of basic development has just begun to enter the gates of the village and has caught the attention of the government, profit makers and concerned citizens. The concept of education has been introduced and enrollment is mainly due to availability of midday meal which the families see as solution to hunger as it ensures a one-time meal for six days of the week. Teacher’s focus is yet to be on quality education.

With the help of some concerned outsiders, the villagers are taking interest in education. At the same time the profit makers are grabbing all opportunity to introduce new concepts without the respect to their sustainable practices.
The visual is to bring forth the distinctive story of Tasada, where it is in between the pendulum of development and sustainable development. In today’s world of chaos where people, villages and cities are developing with disabilities of pollution, afforestation and complexity of life, it is a vital story to showcase the journey of a primitive tribe into a village connected to 21st century.
The fate of the Tasada village remains uncertain yet it is certain that they will reach the stage of development. It is now upto the government, profit makers and the concerned citizens to acknowledge their shortfalls yet weave their strengths together to build a new developed or sustainably developed village.
As a photographer here, my intent is to capture the movement of the tribe that is gradually heading towards weaving a lifestyle which is unknown to them.

Branching down the hill