Phil Borges
 

Exhibition Pieces
Enduring Spirit
Diane Farris Gallery, 1996



Joseph
age 2, Crow tribe, Arizona
selectively toned silver gelatin print
23 x 27 inches


Joseph traveled with his parents all the way from Window Rock, Arizona, to dance in the Crow powwow in Montana. He originally decided to start dancing in powwows when he was just nine months old. As the first in his immediate family to participate in the traditional Navajo dance, Joseph represents a general return to Native American culture.


Echuka and Eragi
ages 24 and 21 months, Turkana Tribe
selectively toned silver gelatin print
23 x 27 inches


Echuka and Eragai are good friends who had spent all day walking in 110-degree heat to the market in Baragoi to get salt for their camels and goats. They called me "the fish" because of the quantitity of water I was drinking. They didn't seem to need to drink at all. The four cowry shells on Eragai's head indicate that she has had a miscarriage. She will wear the shells for the rest of her life. Turkana Tribe



Buzayan
age 6, Jinka, Ethiopia
selectively toned silver gelatin print
23 x 27 inches

Buzayan lives with her mother and three older sisters in a small Ethiopian village. Her father took a job as a policeman in a neighboring town and later abandoned the family for another woman. Even though it is very expensive for her, Buzayan's mother is committed to keeping all the children in school. When I asked Buzayan about kindergarten, she squealed with delight and started jumping up and down.



Giniban
age 50
selectively toned silver gelatin print
23 x 27 inches

Although the Dani have all but stopped their ritual warfare, they continue to stage mock battles with other tribes. Giniban and some 30 of his warrior tribe members had just smeared their bodies with pig grease, donned their feathers and picked up their spears for the afternoon event. The tribes are not really angry at each other - the battle just gives them a chance to let off steam. The Dani women fed them lunch and cheered them on, and it all ended when it started to rain.




Irma
age 9, Tana Toraja, Indonesia
selectively toned silver gelatin print
19.5 x 38 inches


Irma had just arrived home from school when I saw her. She set down her books, picked up a scythe and waded into this large rice field. Within minutes she was joined by some forty men, women and children from her village. They started from the edge of the field and worked toward the center. In less than an hour, they had cut and stacked the entire crop. Most of the farming is done collectively in Tana Toraja.


Aldo, Erpie and Rosie
ages 10, 7 and 7, Toraja tribe
selectively toned silver gelatin print
23 x 27 inches

Aldo and his friends had just spent the morning washing two of his family's water buffalo in the river. When he turned eight, Aldo was given the responsibility of tending the two buffalo. Valued at close to $800 each, they represent more than one-third of his parents' wealth. They will both be slaughtered at his uncle's funeral in two months. The funeral is being delayed until the last rice-harvest ceremony is completed, so as not to mix the rites of life with those of death.


Kalime and Algo
ages 22 and 3, Ethiopia
selectively toned silver gelatin print
23 x 27 inches


Kalime and her son Algo have just spent the day working in their cornfield. This year's drought threatens both the growth of their crops and the survival of the entire Karo tribe -- which now numbers fewer than 500 people. Kalime says they have enough to eat this year, but no one knows what the tribe will do if the rains don't come by next year.


Parsho/Suma
ages 4 and 8, Murile, Ethiopia
selectively toned silver gelatin print
23 x 27 inches

Now that the maize is ripening, Parsho and Suma have been given the responsibility of guarding one of the communal fields from birds and baboons. Because of this year’s drought, the crop is sparse and their job is critical. Suma said that a group of baboons had tried to raid the field a short time ago, but he and Parsho screamed until the warriors came. Baboons have been known to carry off children Parsho’s age.

Boy with Net

Woman with Necklaces


Kinesi
age 6, Mt. Nyiru, Kenya, Samburu tribe
selectively toned silver gelatin print
23 x 27 inches

Kinesi often helps his older brother take care of the family goats. He is the only one of seven children who was selected by his parents to attend school. Since his Samburu family is semi-nomadic, sometimes he must walk alone nearly four hours over terrain populated by baboons and leopards to get to the only school in his district. His mother says that Kenesi runs most of the way -- not from fear of predators, but from the excitement of school.







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