Sample Pages of the Photobook
Pre-orders to follow soon…
In the Media
Toto Tribe Project
‘Totos’. They’re one of the smallest indigenous tribes in the world. They only reside in Totopara, a village sitting at the foothills of the Himalayas along the border of West Bengal in India and Bhutan. They were once on the brink of extinction and now, their population is estimated at 1629 (as per the village’s monthly census in February 2021). Their native language ‘Toto’ is one of the critically endangered languages globally as declared by UNESCO.
A tribe that’s now embracing different facets of globalisation, some gracefully, some due to the force of the inevitable. A tribe that is trying best to maintain a balance between the traditional culture and the allure of assimilation with city life. Totos – a little known tribe on the brink of a takeover by modernisation.
That is why, I started photo-documenting their life cycle in every way possible in 2014. From both young and senior Totos, I learnt that many people even in their home state of West Bengal aren’t aware of their existence. This prompted me to work harder to document their waning culture and traditions before they get buried under layers of modernisation that are visible to the keen eye as soon as one reaches Totopara. With every visit, I not only saw subtle but also direct changes, whether it was concrete and cement replacing traditional bamboo homes, smartphones in the hands of kids as young as five, markets dotted with shops selling packaged snacks and bags with western prints, and a transformation in the attire, with younger generations swapping ethnic clothing with denims and t-shirts.
Moreover, while the younger generation is equipped with smartphones and active on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube (with 4G network also making inroads in the village), the village itself lacks basic infrastructure, whether it’s connectivity to nearby towns or sufficient educational institutions and medical facilities.
This photobook is my endeavour to document and reflect upon the present conditions and also contribute towards socio-anthropological research on the Totos because as far as I know, this is the first photobook (with videos) to be published about the community. Totos.
In essence, this book is an extension of the exhibitions, including two solos in Mumbai and two online group exhibits in Oslo, and talks at seven art and photography societies, including that of educational institutions, that I have presented as my endeavour to make the world take note of Totos.
Through this photobook and future exhibitions across the globe, I want to continue to shine the spotlight on Totos through the powerful medium of photography.
Exhibitions, Photo Talks (till date)
Proposed Group Exhibition
- Christinegaard, Bergen City, Norway. September 2022
Group Exhibitions (online)
- Oslo Open’s annual open studio programme with artists, Oslo, Norway, April 2021
- Her og Der Mentorship Program (2020-2021), Oslo, Norway, April 2021
- Twistes Café, Thane City, Maharashtra, India. 2018
- David Sassoon Library, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai, India. 2017 (Edited by Fawzan Hussain, Documentary Photographer, Mumbai)
Photo Talks on the project
- Oslo International Hub, Oslo, Norway. 2020
- Litteraturhuset, Oslo, Norway. 2019
- S.V.T. College of Home Science (S.N.D.T. Women’s University) for the Graduation students of Mass Media Communication & Extension, Mumbai, India. 2018
- V.G. Vaze College of Arts, Science & Commerce for the Graduation students of Mass Media, Mumbai, India. 2018
- National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai, India. 2016
- Mithibai College, for the Graduation students of Sociology & Anthropology, Mumbai, India. 2016
- Foto Circle Society, Thane City, Maharashtra, India. 2016
This project is in the final stages of being published as an extensive photobook.
Click THIS LINK to help me crowdfund so that I can self publish the First Edition. (150 copies)
You can invite me to keep exhibits and photo talks in your galleries, in colleges and universities, in photographic and art societies and within a group of like-minded people.
For more details, please contact via this and I shall be happy to respond.