The Tribe Untouched by the Modern World

February 6, 2016

These stunning images document the everyday lives of the men, women and children of the Mentawai tribe, an indigenous people in Indonesia that has managed to keep their traditional ways, far from modern society.

The Mentawai people, a native population in Indonesia, are famous for their decorative tattoos and for living a semi-nomadic life on the Mentawai Islands in West Sumatra.

Shot by professional photographer Mohammed Saleh Bin Dollah, the series captures a glimpse of life on the island, where the tribe clan is everything and any problem can be solved by a medicine man.

‘The woman walk around with no clothes on and their lives depend entirely on natural resources. I wanted to go to the island to showcase the everyday lives of the tribe.’

The tribe consists of around 64,000 people, living in homes which are known as Umas and built using bamboo, wood and grass, and are furnished with the skulls of hunted prey.

The Mentawaian’s social life revolves around their clans, and at the centre is the communal long house. The clans vary in size between 30 to 80 members.

It is claimed that the tribe members believe that all living objects including plants are supposed to have spirits.

The only specialist in the community is the medicine man that is responsible for communication with the spirits and the souls – in case of misfortune or illness, he is called in to restore harmony within the group.

Professional snapper Mohammed was fortunate enough to spend some time with the Mentawai Warriors during the month of July 2014.

‘I was very lucky to receive the opportunity to take these photos when I was helping out a friend who actually one lived with the Mentawai people for a period of time,’ he said.

‘Most of the men in the tribe are regarded as heroes, everyone on the island is very happy.

‘They love it when people from the outside world come to visit because they like to show their way of living and their island.’

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