Christophe Moëc presents the exhibition Simbu, terre indomptable at the Espace Andrée Chedid in Issy-les-Moulineaux. Here’s how he presents it:
I made the Simbu photo series in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The images of this country in Oceania are often distorted in relation to reality. Preconceived ideas come mostly from successful cultural and ethnic festivals, such as the Goroka Show or the Mount Hagen Cultural Show, both located in this same region of the Highlands.
These festivals were born after the Second World War on the initiative of the first European settlers with the idea of creating a space for dialogue and reconciliation between the different antagonistic ethnic clans. Over time, these events have become gigantic tourist attractions with the active complicity of the natives, not only for the financial manna they represent, but as a vector of identity affirmation by drawing on their ancient traditions which are disappearing in the face of globalization.
However, the image of Papua New Guinea in the 21st century, a Commonwealth country, cannot be reduced to these folkloric exhibitions. That’s why I traveled in 2019 and 2022 halfway between Mount Hagen (capital of the Western Highlands) and Goroka (capital of the Eastern Highlands), in the remote province of Simbu where there are no no more airports for lack of maintenance, in order to bring back images of daily life in the spirit of photojournalism. My photos deconstruct the usual stereotypes present in the collective imagination about primitive-looking Papuans, they show an unadorned reality.
Christophe Moëc : Simbu, terre indomptable
from April 5 to May 30, 2023
Espace Andrée Chedid
60 rue du General Leclerc
Metro Marie d’Issy (line 12)
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Sunday closed)