Nani Puspasari


The Kayans


Drawing and Photography by me - Nani Puspasari

Inle Lake, Myanmar 2016

Travel drawing series - I’m not sure how I feel about this one, this drawing referee to my Myanmar travel photo in 2016 @travelnani. I’ve been wanting to see these Kayan long neck women since I was a teenager after reading an article about them in a magazine. The Kayan tribe are Tibeto-Burman ethnic minority of Myanmar, a lot of them fled to the Thai border area due to conflict with the military regime in the 1980s. The women wear the rings from childhood and adding more annually as they getting older. Kayan long neck women wear the rings from childhood, starting with four or five, and adding more annually as they acclimate to the increased weight. Coils weighing up to 25 pounds depress the chest and shoulders. This creates the illusion of disembodied head hovering over a shimmering pedestal of gold rings.  Contrary to popular belief, the coils don’t lengthen the neck itself and thus can be removed without the neck snapping. Yet, women still wear these coils year round with few exceptions, even while sleeping.In Thailand, they were exposed to tourist attraction, similar feeling I got when our tour guide showed us these ladies. He told us that we are able to take photos with them and leave some donation money in the box around the corner. Two of them still teenagers, they look uncomfortable and hardly smiles. I had a mixed feeling about this, similar when I saw tourists taking smiley photo/ selfies in front of The Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the place for honouring the dead - “The goal of travel shouldn’t be taking pictures of exotic things to brag about back home. Travel is about forging relationships and making connections with people from different cultures. Create a symbiotic relationship with locals by reaching out to find common ground with the people you met, instead of treating them as spectacles to exploit.” (via epicureandculture) - I’m not judging, everyone has right to do what they want. But as the human being, we might want to reflect ourselves to be a better person day by day, lemme know how you feel seeing these kinds of tourist selfie photos #longneckwomen