French photographer Julien Coquentin touches sensitive issues of deforestaion and indigenous rights through his photography project ‘Green Wall’. It is a story of two walls facing each other: the forest of Sarawak and industrial plantations. It is also the story of the Penan, a nomadic aboriginal community which has preserved intimate relationship with the forest till date. They eat plants, which are also used as medicines, and animals and use the hides, skin, fur, and other parts for clothing and shelter. Finally, this is the story of an idea and a hope, the Penan Peace Park, a protected area whose fragile borders are lost in the jungle of Borneo.
“We, the Penan Selungo of Sarawak, are indigenous peoples who have been most affected by the forced destruction and transformation of our land. Our ancestors were nomadic hunter-gatherers and we have only recently started to settle down and learn farming. Even if our lifestyle has changed a lot over the last decades, we remain faithful to our tradition and we still want to live in harmony with our forest. We have tried many times to protect our land rights, but our blowpipes and our culture are non aggressive compare to the bulldozers of the companies. The destruction of our forest takes place in front of our eyes. After several decades, the social, economic and ecological impacts of an unconditional exploitation of natural resources are too obvious to ignore. The disappearance of our food source, medicinal and other plant and animal species, the pollution of soil and drinking water resources, soil destabilization through the destruction of natural forests, problems related to our health and social welfare are just some examples.” – Penan Peace Park Project