Image above: ©Pierre de Vallombreuse, Badjao. In the house, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.
In November of 1920, eight million women took to the voting stations for the first time in the United States. Since then, it can be argued that while strides have been made in gender equality we still have not reached the true mind-set change necessary for real egalitarianism. Even while the West claims to be progressive and liberal in their nature, women are still marginalized in the workplace and stagnate in gender roles at home. But look to the East and Pierre de Vallombreuse has been able to capture societies where gender equality is in full fruition.
©Pierre de Vallombreuse, badjao. Observing, 2015. Courtesy of the artist
©Pierre de Vallombreuse, badjao. playing in the sea, 2015. Courtesy of the artist
©Pierre de Vallombreuse, badjao. women and girls, 2015. Courtesy of the artist
Vallombreuse was born in Bayonne in 1962 and in 20 years of his photographic career has collected over 130, 000 images celebrating the difference in the societies of autochthonous people. He has travelled to every continent and photographed 41 native cultures. He is concerned with human nature, sustainability, our interaction with each other, and the environment. He is a well decorated professional who has won many awards for his work including the Leonardo de Vinci award, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993. In stunning monochromatic images this talented photographer depicts what matriarchal societies look like across the globe. Specifically he photographs the Khasi community in the north-eastern part of India.
©Pierre de Vallombreuse, Badjao-End of the day cleaning, 2015. Courtesy of the artist
©Pierre de Vallombreuse, (left) Badjao- Early Morning, 2015; (right) Badjao- Child Pretending to Sleep, 2015. Courtesy of the artist.
The Khasi society is a matrilineal and matrilocal community with a population of around one million people. This meaning children take their mother’s last name, daughters inherit the families wealth and assets and upon betrothal the couple lives with the woman’s parents. Men are seen as no more than the women and are up against wives, mothers-in-law and children if the status quo is challenged. Women are strong and confident and are not made to feel like being born a female is in any way a disadvantage. In contrast to the rest of the country and the globe, women prefer to stay single and see no need to get married. Vallombreuse's photos will be on view in an exhibition titled "Souveraines" (Sovereign) at Galerie Argentic in France from October 13 through November 21, 2015.
©Pierre de Vallombreuse, palawan. Field work, 2015. Courtesy of the artist