Forest Smoke, Tsiribihina River, Madagascar, 2016
“The death of the forest is the end of our life.” Dorothy Stang
What Remains , is a self-initiated project born out of Al Obaidly’s journey across the island of Madagascar in 2016. Traveling from the capital Antananarivo to the west coast and ending her trip in Belo Sur Mer, Al Obaidly covered over 800km by land, river and sea.
Madagascar is an exceptional terrestrial ecoregion home to unique species of plants and animal life found nowhere else on Earth, yet it is also the world’s leader in deforestation, with approximately 93% of its primary forests destroyed, leaving only 7% of the island’s rich rainforest left. The reason for this slash-and-burn agriculture – whereby an area of forest is cut and burned – is to create fields for raising cattle, logging of precious woods, charcoal production and in certain sites for mining purposes. All destroy the island’s habitats, rich with endemic biodiversity.
This body of work combines photographic works, sound design, a film installation and sculpture. What Remains is an exploration of what mankind will leave behind once we have fully exploited Earth’s natural resources in the name of progress. The work asks profound questions about human civilization’s impact on our environment. Al Obaidly hopes to initiate dialog with a serious message and a call to action, encouraging visitors to self-reflect, spurring all of us to contemplate and re-evaluate our relationships with and connection to the natural environment in this modern world, and the footprint we will leave behind.
Tavy (slash-and-burn) I, Madagascar, 2016
New Mountain, Madagascar, 2016
Last Tree Standing, Madagascar, 2016
Birds of Prey I, Madagascar, 2016
Birds of Prey II, Madagascar, 2016
Charcoal, Madagascar, 2016
Tavy (slash-and-burn) II, Madagascar, 2016
Fire Starter, Madagascar, 2016
Renala (Mother of the Forest), Tsiribihina River, 2016
“Every forest branch moves differently in the breeze, but as they sway they connect at the roots” - Rumi
The baobab, also called “renala”(“mother of the forest”) in Malagasy is a majestic and sacred tree that counts eight species, six of them endemic to Madagascar. The national tree of Madagascar, most 18-meter high baobab trees are more than 800 years old, with the larger trees aging between 1,100 and 2,500 years old. They can grow to 6,000+ years. Their hollow trunks contain an important reserve of water, which allows them to tolerate extreme climatic conditions. With this high-water content, they do not perish in the forest fires. However, because their one-of-a-kind ecosystem is being disturbed around them, these ancient trees are now dying at an increasing rate.
Empty River, Madagascar, 2016
Birds over Smoking Field, Madagascar, 2016
Boy in Field, near Allee des Baobabs, Menabe Region, 2016
Paddy Fields I, Madagascar, 2016
Terraced Paddy Fields I, Madagascar, 2016
Roots of the Sky, Menabe Region, 2016
Waiting Game, Madagascar, 2016
Paddy Fields II, Antananarivo, Madagascar, 2016