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Entering the Yali Tribe


Where waters run wild and forests grow free, there are groups of people who live alongside Nature in perfect harmony. Tribes across the world have always been a keen point of interest, conjuring up curiosities of how they live, worship, speak, dress, and what they eat.

In our upcoming issue, The Wood Edition, featuring Asian Tribes, we immerse ourselves in Yali life in the village of Angurruk, in West Papua, Indonesia, through street photographer Alain Schneuwly, who brings us to the people and their traditions. Join us on the mountain paths from Angurruk to Kurima, along the trails taken by the Yali people who walk for several days to connect with the rest of the world.

“The air strip was first built in the early 1960s by missionaries and is served by chartered planes to bring supplies and health services to these distant tribes communities in the Yali country. It takes about 25 minutes from Wamena in the Baliem valley to reach Angurruk by air and about 4-5 days walk through the mountains.”
Angurruk – Just outside the village school a group of students pause with a traditionally dressed Yali man. The satellite dish behind is an attempt to connect to the rest of the world when solar power is available through rechargeable batteries, the only viable source of electricity in these remote mountains. Fuel powered generators are not a option as flown-in benzin costs 5 times as much as in Wamena
While 90 percent of men have abandoned their koteka and rattan skirt, the older generation wears it all the time

For many years, Alain had his eyes on a remote part of Indonesia called West Papua where
tribes still live today traditionally, isolated from the modern world we know. They inhabit mountains above 1,500 metres, reachable only by chartered plane or after several days walking through difficult terrain.

Few people have travelled here, but the rare photographs he saw and stories he read on these highlands tribes always inspired him greatly. Read more about the Yali People, and Alain’s adventure in our upcoming issue, The Wood Edition.

If you have wondered about the tribes of Asia, look no further. ASIAN Geographic‘s latest Issue 2/2020, The Wood Edition will bring you high into the mountains and deep into the jungles where unique tribes dwell. You can buy a copy here or download a digital copy here!

Alain Schneuwly is a street photographer based in Singapore since 2010. Over the last 30 years, he has had the opportunity to travel and photograph the cities of London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Morocco; the tribes of West Papua; and recently in North Korea. Street photography has enabled him to capture the world around him candidly, without constraints, and to express his emotions and share his view of the world as a simple witness. You can see more of Alain’s work here.



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