The Last Penan in the Borneo Rainforest
A manifesto against politics and business interests that endanger the Penan culture on Borneo
1st edition, 2019
Text English / German / Penan
160 pages, 100 color illustrations
22 x 30 cm
Over many years, Swiss photographer Tomas Wüthrich has visited Borneo many times to document the daily life of the Penan, a partially nomadic indigenous people living in the rainforest of Borneo. The way of life that these hunter-gatherers lead in the Sarawak state of Malaysia is critically threatened by illegal logging and oil palm plantations.
The Penan people came to the world’s attention thanks to Swiss-born environmental activist Bruno Manser, who disappeared in the jungle without trace in the year 2000 while campaigning for the Penan cause. In this book, Wüthrich paints a nuanced portrait of this unique culture. The book is printed on moisture-resistant paper made from limestone so that it will be durable in the Borneo rainforest. For its production of Rockpaper no tree was felled and no drinking water consumed.
A selection of Penan myths, collected by Ian B.G. Mackenzie are published for the first time alongside Wüthirch’s photographs. An essay on Bruno Manser and his mission for the Penans’ case completes the book.