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Photographer captures vignettes of tribal life in NE

NEW DELHI: The life of tribals begins and ends with the rise and fall of the sun. But in the North East, it has a special meaning and this was aptly captured by a great artist of the land, Shymal Datta from Shillong.
‘Fire to Fire From Dawn to Dusk: North East India’s Vanishing Way of Life’ — a solo show by Datta here at India International Centre drew selected intellectuals on Wednesday.
In this collection, the metaphoric day starts when a tribal family wakes up at dawn and lights the hearth. Food is cooked and eaten after which all members leave the house for the hills to tend to their crops.
At sunset, the family returns and light up their hearth once again to eat, drink and be happy together, before the cycle starts again the following day.
‘North East’s vanishing way of life’ by Datta is about the surreal sunsets and misty mornings. It also gives a glimpse of the tribal communities who celebrate their simplicity and traditions.
Talking about the exhibition, Datta said, “This photo curation is a sampling of an expression of my passion for the region where I was born; its people, their culture, its exquisite natural beauty, its magnificent flora and fauna.
It is also an attempt to visually record a fascinatingly unique way of the tribal life for posterity – a way that is confronting the contradiction of modernity.”
But Datta is not only an accomplished photographer. A decade ago, he was a semifinalist in the BBC World Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award. In 2009, he undertook a 15-day sailing expedition circling the Galapagos Islands in Equador in the Pacific Ocean.
His works have been published in national and international publications, including news media.
Datta has presented audiovisual shows of his works in the US, Canada and the UK, besides India. In 2014, his image of the Golden Langur, a vulnerable species, found only in Assam and Bhutan was awarded and exhibited in the London School of Liberal Arts.
Two years later his images were awarded in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Asia competition. The ten days show was appreciated by persons like Valmiki Prasad, former Union Home Secretary and governor of Sikkim.

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