Photography Exhibition “On the Move”: Celebrating transhumance in the Mediterranean

Photography Exhibition “On the Move”: Celebrating transhumance in the Mediterranean

One of the most important cultural and economic practices in the Mediterranean is traditional pastoralism and in particular transhumance. Even though its roots can be traced back to prehistoric times, transhumance is still very much alive across the Mediterranean basin.

“On the Move”, a photographic journey through the lives and challenges faced by transhumant shepherds in the Mediterranean, makes its sixth stop in Greece, after successful exhibitions in Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Tunisia and Spain and before reaching its final destination, Turkey. In Greece, “On the Move” will be hosted in the Protected Area of the Northern Pindos National Park, the study area for transhumance in Greece, in the Averoff Μuseum in Metsovo from 29th July to 14th September and then in Athens until the end of September 2015 at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation.

The seasonal movement of livestock in search of better climatic conditions, forage and water resources from the lowlands to the uplands during spring and the reverse in autumn is a known cultural practice with important societal, cultural and environmental dimensions. Research has confirmed the importance of transhumance in nature conservation with its direct impact on biodiversity and natural resource management as well as its benefits on the protection of cultural heritage through the transfer of traditional knowledge and know how. The case of ethnotic / cultural groups that practice it, like the Vlachs and Sarakatsans in Greece prove exactly that. However, one of the most important aspects in a time of financial crisis and socio-political turbulence is that transhumance can concretely contribute to the sustainable development of communities living in mountainous and semi mountainous areas and to the preservation of the ecological fabric while improving the lives of people across the Mediterranean through the high quality products produced by this practice.

The travelling exhibition “On the Move” rather than a typical ethnographic approach, aims to provide a modern look and at times even unpleasant, due to the abandonment of transhumance. With the participation of six professional photographers, Stamos Abatis from Greece, Baris Korca from Turkey, Yunes Tazi from Morocco, Wassim Ghozlani from Tunisia, Assad Saleh from Lebanon and Gemma Arrugaeta from Spain, “On the Move” aims to portray the challenging lives of the remaining transhumant shepherds in the Mediterranean and to raise awareness on the importance of preserving and even reviving this practice.

In Greece, “On the Move” is being organized by the Mediterranean Institute of Nature and Anthropos (Med-INA) in cooperation with the Management Body Vikos-Aoos and Pindos, Pindos Perivallontiki and the Vjosa / Aoos River Ecomuseum. The exhibition is being held in the framework of a project on transhumance implemented by the Mediterranean Consortium of Nature and Culture.

During its first stop in Greece, in the Averoff Μuseum in Metsovo, “On the Move” will be complemented with items from the Metsovo Folklore Museum of the Tositsa Foundation as well as an extensive set of photographs by Kostas Balafas (1920-2011) that portray the lives of transhumant shepherds in the Pindos area.