Ziro By Shiv Ahuja

14 October 2013

Sometime around June 2012, Anup Kutty and Randeep asked me if I'd like to accompany their rock act, Menwhopause to Ziro, a small region in the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh for a music festival they were organising. Without any expectations or research, a two-day train and 15 hour car ride later, I was at Ziro.

The same night at a local drinking hole, a few mugs of the local rice beer and I was out cold, only to realise I was being photographed by my new Apatani friends with my hair tied up in the traditional tribal style and bamboo-ash tattoos on my face. I was the tallest man they had ever seen and they now took it upon themselves to make me feel at home. I couldn’t wait till the Indie-kids showed up for the festival.

I spent an intense half a month in Ziro and came back absolutely consumed with thoughts on how people from the valley lead their lives. And it was then that Anup's words came back to me, "its as much about them understanding us as it is about us understanding them".

I feel like there's a story unfolding at Ziro and I’m quite excited to be able to document it. The photographs I made at Ziro during my first visit had a strong impact on the way I looked at things over the next year and I am now working on taking that forward. These photographs were made over two editions of the festival.


Words, images and music: Shiv Ahuja


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