Alliance Française de Manille, Embassy of France to the Philippines, National Museum of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts present “The Valley,” a photographic exhibition by French photographer Pierre de Vallombreuse open for public viewing from August 31 to February 4, 2018 at the Old Senate Hall of the National Museum of the Philippines.
De Vallombreuse dedicated almost 30 years of his life (from 1988 up to the present) to document the landscapes and daily lives of the ethnolinguistic group, the Tau’t Batu in Singnapan Valley in Palawan. Eighty-one photographs and more than 100 digital photos are set to be presented.
This exhibit is a fitting tribute to the 70th year anniversary of the diplomatic ties between France and the Philippines.
“I am deeply honored to have been invited by the National Museum of the Philippines to present my photographic work on the Tau’t Batu, which started in 1988. I hope that this exhibition will give the public a chance to appreciate this unique culture that we have to defend and protect. This exhibition is also an opportunity for the public to meet those endearing individuals who have become very close friends of mine over the years. I dare hope that this encounter will raise awareness on the issues, perils and challenges the valley is facing today. Never before have external pressures been so strong and have the Pala’wan people undergone changes so deep,” De Vallombreuse said.
According to him, with the inhabitants of the valley, he was able to discover a community composed of wise poets whose sharp humor roughs up the ego.
“I was soothed by their fundamentally peaceful culture that rejects violence (Pala’wan people are among the few and rare peaceful societies in the world). Thanks to them, I learned that not all human societies are always driven and steered by violence, predation, greed, calculation and cynicism. This is too rare and precious, and so we cannot just look the other way, especially during these crucial times.”
De Vallombreuse’s whole work with the indigenous peoples for the past 30 years has been fueled by only a few simple ideas and principles: to share his encounters with them, to advocate the diversity of cultures, to respect differences, to provide evidence of aggressions and injustices perpetrated against them, to show their evolution and adaptation in coping with changes that disrupt their lifestyle.
“My actions are in line with the principles of international institutions such as UNESCO and its Program on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,” he ended.