The Zoo of the Giraffe Women

A Journey among the Kayan of Northern Thailand.

In a village in the far north of Thailand, under the stunning light of a tropical sun, surreal women impeccably wearing their ethnic attire, smiling and motionless, offer themselves to the cameras of voracious tourists.

Adorned with gorgeous necklaces of shining brass coils, they are the famous “giraffe women”, the epithet commonly used to define members of the Kayan tribe originally from eastern Burma.
The vivid contrast between the myths narrating the origin of this ethnic group and their current condition as refugees from the civil war in their homeland provides an outstanding and sharp testimony to life in Thailand’s “human zoos”.

A wide selection of photographs taken by the author using old vintage cameras from the early 1900s and the link to a poignant short video, shot with Super-8 film, enrich the volume, visually amplifying the unique mood of the written account.


Martino Nicoletti, The Zoo of the Giraffe Women, Le loup des steppes, 2015



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