The Moken are a semi-nomadic, who live in the Mergui Archipelago in the Andaman Sea. Like other tribal children, the Moken young learn to ‘read’ nature through experience and observation. They have developed the unique ability to focus underwater, using their visual skills to dive for food on the sea floor. The Moken are born, live and die on their boats, and the umbilical cords of their children plunge into the sea recounts a Moken myth.
Their semi-nomadic numbers have diminished in recent years due to political and post-tsunami regulations, companies drilling for oil off-shore and governments seizing their lands for tourism development and industrial fishing. Many have had no choice but to settle in on-shore villages. Losing their ways of life is thus making it increasingly difficult for adults to pass on centuries-old rituals and skills to children.
Andre Testa, photographer