Tales of Us

Congo Tales

Congo Tales Book Cover

Congo Tales

Upturning the traditional conventions of fear-based environmental messaging and the portrayal of Africa solely as a place of plague and war, Congo Tales takes a completely different approach to communicating the urgency of conservation efforts in this region.

In this groundbreaking photo series that was 5 years in the making, national Congolese who live in the Mbomo district of the Congo Basin staged their never-before recorded mythology for fine art portrait photographer Pieter Henket (Lady Gaga, Eddie Redmayne, Mary J. Blige). Henket’s portraits – of dozens of children forming the shape of an Mbomo (or Boa Constrictor); of over a hundred Congolese women forming a line at the border of the forest; of Congolese men on the hunt for a mythical bird – make the Congolese, their myths, and the rainforest the stars of Congo Tales, and communicate the magic and mystery of this little understood place, and its incalculable value to the planet.

Congo Tales, Tales of Us children under the moon

A book and a short film

Channeling the primal heartbeat of one of the world’s most powerful ecosystems and the people who call it home, the mythological tales of the Congolese – of supernatural forces in control of life and death, of ritualistic initiations into adulthood, of the laws of nature that lie outside the laws of people – are revealed as a treasure trove of universal wisdom that is both existential and pragmatic, with the unspoiled Odzala Kokoua National Park as stage and actor.

A groundbreaking work of scholarly anthropology that calls on the work of Joseph Campbell and the Brothers Grimm, and a captivating work of art and photography, Congo Tales is a feat of innovative environmental messaging and cross-cultural and cross-continental collaboration intended to both prevent the loss of this all-important bastion of nature, and reveal its priceless value to the world and our communal future in it.

A short film based on the story of The Little Fish and the Crocodile was directed by Stefanie Plattner and produced by Eva Vonk, @ Storming Donkey productions.

This Congolese mythological tale tells of a universal truth that nature abides by laws all its own, a timely message for a world in environmental crisis.

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Important
Dates

  • 13.01.19

    Christie's auction photo prints Potsdam, Germany
  • 15.11

    US Book Launch at Rizolli New York city, US
  • 21.10

    Ending Exhibition at Museum Barberini Postdam, Germany
  • 29.06

    Book Release EU Online & In Store
  • 29.06

    Opening Exhibition at Museum Barberini Potsdam, Germany
  • 29.05

    Exhibition Mbomo Republic of the Congo
  • 28.05

    Opening Mbomo at Sanza Mobimba Republic of the Congo
  • 22.05

    Opening Brazzaville at C.C.A.V Republic of the Congo
Tales of us cultural awareness

The Crocodile
and the Fish

Film is a beautiful, powerful medium to tell stories that need to be told.

The Crocodile and the Fish - Documentary Video Cover

Our team journeyed several times over a three-year period to the Congo Basin with a drawing and animation teacher, an education expert, the project’s producer and other researchers and partners. Together we worked with local teachers on guiding children to draw from the elements of nature and create interesting characters with which to tell stories.

Over the course of several workshops facilitated specifically for the children of Mbomo, these remarkable kids progressed from initial character creation, to creative storytelling and development. By playing with and performing their own adaptation of a traditional story – “The Crocodile and the Fish” –a short film was born as a result of these workshops. This short film will serve as one of the main aspects of our project exhibition, film festivals and educational supplements.

The
Making
of

Giving a voice to those who have observed our work over the last few years, this ‘making of’ film, illustrates the perspective of the amazing Congolese community who let us into their homes and hearts over this 3-year journey. Comprised of the material collected over these years, this video provides an interesting look behind the screens for those who wish to learn more about the real story behind the Congo Tales.

Our Partners

Partner: Congo Conservation Company

Congo Conservation Company is proud to pioneer eco-tourism in the Republic of Congo Odzala. Discovery Camps have provided pre-established trust and infrastructure for the project, ensuring logistical support including safe accommodation, local guides and translators.

Partner: Boom Productions

Boom Productions Inc. has proven to be a solid partner in the ’Tales of Us’ journey.  As a long time collaborator,  producer and supporter of Pieter Henket’s work, Roger Iniss has been part of his professional development for over a decade, knowing his way of working inside and out.

Partner: Storming Donkey Productions

Storming Donkey Productions chooses its projects carefully, storming passionately ahead to realize them. Whether for movies, series, or documentaries, for German, European or international audiences – when they’re convinced they’ve found a story that should be told, they’ll find the right way to tell it.

Partner: Museum Barberini Potsdam

Museum Barberini will provide two featured spaces and full exhibition support during our 3-month run starting in June of 2018. The Barberini proudly offers its full promotional capabilities, to maximize the visibility of this dynamic project and this important cause.

Glück Workshops explores the intersection of learning, interaction and play through arts and technology, as a path to strengthen creativity. The founder of Gluck journeyed several times to the Congo Basin with our team to work on character design classes with local teachers and children.

Partner: 711 seven eleven

Seven Eleven Rent is a professional photography rental company featuring top brands and high quality production equipment. They supplied our team with a state of the art package that has taken the results of the photo series to another level.

Partner: StudioKamp

Studiokamp is a music and sound design company run by composer and award-winning sound artist David Kamp. David journeyed with us into the Congo to capture the unique sounds of Odzala park, its vibrant nature, and hidden villages. Based on those field recordings, he created a multichannel soundscape composition for the exhibition space.

We want to tell more stories.
Want to become a partner? Get in touch here.

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