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