Bird in Flight Prize ‘20

Bird in Flight Prize ‘20 Finalist: To Search The Secret Of The Forest

Project by Italian photographer Pietro Lo Casto shortlisted for Bird in Flight Prize ‘20.

Pietro Lo Casto, Italy

In the south-east of Nepal, there is a village called Tangia Basti where man lives in symbiosis with a sprawling forest, against the backdrop of ancient traditions, cultural beliefs, and mysterious rituals.

A man climbs a tree to collect wood, hunts animals at night, and knows his way miles deep into the jungle. A former Maoist soldier bathes in the river; he has found solace in the calm of the woods. An archaic tree sits silent, high as the sky, absorbing the darker spirits of the forest and preserving the natural balance of the community. A young girl with esoteric powers uses animal energy to heal those possessed by ghosts.

For more than 25 years, the community has been faced with the proposed construction of an airport, a national pride project that would involve displacement and deforestation. Tangia Basti has no electricity, running water or telephone connection but has always resisted building roads and schools with tenacity, enjoying a lively existence.

For the inhabitants of Tangia Basti, income is predominantly generated by farming.
A local hunter knows his way miles deep into the forest.
Man bathes in the river. During wintertime, the river turns unexpectedly warm in the early hours, creating ideal conditions for people to bathe.
Sal trees surrounding the village are an important source of wood used for construction, cooking and heating.
Young girl in a state of trance during a Shamanic ceremony.
Sugar cane fields are burned once a year to help with the process of improving the fertility of the land.
The community has lived more or less in isolation, away from the benefits of national and international development agendas.
There are 3 schools in the community of Tangia Basti.
Hunting for wild boars takes place predominantly at night, deep inside the forest.
Interior of a house. There are about 1,500 houses in Tangia Basti.
Young boy bathes in the river during a hot afternoon in March.
The forest that surrounds Tangia Basti sprawls over 8,000 hectares and is home to countless species, including 33 different types of mammals, and over 300 different kinds of birds.