Artist Statement

It was easy for me to get access to them [majhi (fisherman)], but extremely difficult to build a narrative. How could I tell a story with images of the Indrawati, a river in northeastern Nepal, and an ethnic group of majhi?

There are over twenty-seven mining plants on the bank of the Indrawati that use heavy equipment to extract material such as crushed stones and sand from the riverbed; because of this, fish and other marine life are on the verge of vanishing from the river. Majhis, who once lived by catching and selling fish, are leaving their much century-old occupation and taking work as day laborers in the river-mining plants.

I went there without knowing where to stay, or eat. The people were very kind to me. They gave me shelter and food, even though some of them were extremely poor. I remember Sujan Majhi, a twenty-two year old daily laborer in a river-mine and father of two kids, saying to me one starry night, “when you go back you can tell the story, that you have stayed in Sujan Majhi’s house, from where you can see the Langtang Himal through the window”. Or the night in Sipaborgaw, when I was woken by the sound of a chorus of young ladies and boys who were singing and dancing with ancient sprits.

I wondered how these people were celebrating their lives without fear of uncertainty. I tried to photograph this uncertainty of their lives, to photograph the restlessness of their lives—which dissolves into their blood, like nicotine, and yes, their love of life.