Zooming in on tribals

Mumbai: Montreal-based photographer Marcus Leatherdale has been exhibiting his works since the last 25 years in different galleries in the world. The artist for long has been fascinated by India and has been working on Indian tribes since 1999.
Photographer Marcus Leatherdale pays homage to the distinct lifestyle of Indian tribals through his upcoming exhibition in the city.
Talking about his experiences in India, Marcus says, “I first came to India in 1973. Adivasi translates to ‘first dweller’. And there are over 100 million tribals living outside of the Hindu caste society in India. Their origins precede the Vedic Aryans and the Dravidians of the south. The Adivasi still speak tribal languages that are not understood by the dominant Hindus, and they follow archaic customs foreign to both Hindus and Muslims alike.” Marcus’ extensive research on Adivasis reveals that it is unlikely that these people will be able to continue in their traditional way of life for much longer due to diminishing land space and the relentless approach of the modern world. Marcus explains, “What is far more likely is that the erosion of their cultures and their traditions will only continue until they eventually disappear, as distinct tribes and are absorbed into Hindu society.” And before this happens Marcus hopes to artistically pay homage to them with his photographic work and compile a book on them. “This is the mission of my life,” asserts Marcus. In this journey of 12 long years, Marcus has learnt that the tribals of India are similar to all indigenous people worldwide in their respect for nature and the natural balance of life. Marcus says, “This is something that the civilized man could learn from them rather than considering then ignorant. I feel more at peace and grounded amongst the Adivasis than I do with the world at large.” Marcus’ works can be seen at Matthieu Foss gallery in Mumbai, from January 14 to February 13.