Westport photographer Barbara Paul has a fascinating exhibit of pictures on display at the New Haven Free Public Library until Thursday, May 3 entitled :”The Amazing Himba People of Namibia.” Namibia is a small African nation, an isolated world where few travelers venture. Through Barbara’s photos one can glimpse the daily life of these unique people, caring for their children, picking corn, cooking, dancing with joy, men herding their goats.
Taking part in the lives of this semi-nomadic tribe, Barbara was “privileged to visit twenty isolated Himba villages in the rugged terrain of Northwestern Namibia. It was impossible not to be awestruck by the stunning women…whose oiled and ochred skin gleams a deep red-orange, and who wear extravagant thick braids and animal hide skirts, headdresses and ornaments. The Himba still preserve age-old habits and traditions which have endured despite much adversity. They live almost as they did centuries ago.”
At the exhibit opening, the Namibian ambassador to the United Nations came with his wife and daughter and spoke of his country.
Namibia gained independence from South Africa twenty-two years ago and is the home of the oldest desert in the world. Boasting 300 days of sunshine a year, the ambassador encouraged people to visit.
By recording these unique indigenous group around the world, she hopes to “provide understanding and respect for their culture, their style of dress, their daily way of life, and the steadfastness with which they preserve their traditions.”
Ms. Paul has also made photo studies of Sri Lanka, India, the cultures of Oman, Mongolia and Indonesia, the Samburu of Kenya, the festivals of Ghana, Benin, and Togo, the monk’s village life in Eastern Tibet, Ethiopia, Jerusalem, and Petra, Mali and Papua, New Guinea.