PRECIOSA ORNELA - News
The internal beauty of Maasai women - a sales exhibition of photographs
If you are planning a trip to Prague during the second month of the summer holidays, be sure to visit the exhibition of typical African seed bead accessories and uniquely conceived photographs of Maasai women which will be held at the PRECIOSA Lighting showroom in Jáchymova Street, just a few steps from the Old Town Square, from July 30. 2015 to first week of September.
The initiator of the exhibition and the author of the photography is a young Slovak photographer who follows the lives of local women and children through the camera lens and often endeavours to help them. The exhibition will also include a number of planned workshops.
The story of the Maasai women is not only documented in photographs, but also in the publication the Odyssey of the Maasai which will be available at the exhibition. The lives of Maasai women and their efforts to achieve independence and equality are inseparably bound with their traditional decorations made from Czech seed beads.
I first met the members of the Red Tribe in 2013. I remember it well: a kingdom of smiles, complicated bead decorations and their cows. I heard the story of the Loita Hills – a spiritual place ruled by Laibon, the Maasai's shaman.
I had not come because of any celebrations or ceremonies – they have already been well documented in the past. I was not even interested in getting to know the truth about Laibon or the current land disputes. The thing which had attracted me to come to Southern Kenya as a photographer was the women working on the Red Tribe project and the children from the Maasai Academy.
However, the thing which I was not prepared for was the influence which they would have on me and the untold stories which they had seen with their own eyes.
The Maasai culture is not what it once was when a territory stretching from Northern Kenya to Central Tanzania belonged to them and when they were the most feared tribe in all of Eastern Africa. However, despite everything they have lost, their pride is still apparent.
Before Vladia, originally from Slovakia, settled in Southern Africa, she travelled throughout Europe and the Far East. She is a renowned and prize-winning photographer: in 2005, she received the "Judge’s Favorite" prize at the International Travel Photographer exhibition. In 2006, she finished in the top third of the Commonwealth Photographic Award in Great Britain and in 2007 she was one of the finalists in the Photographer of the Year (UK) in the Travel Portfolio Section.
"Overall, I have had the honour of spending six months with this Maasai community and of seeing the life changes which the Maasai have achieved via the Red Tribe project. My contribution is to donate part of the earnings from the sale of all my photographs to the Maasai Academy and in doing so to assist a new generation to strengthen the skills which are necessary to survive in an ever changing world.“