Anneliese Schools has received a moving collection of artifacts and award-winning photographs of the Mbuti tribe, tropical forest hunter-gatherers of the Congo Rainforest, in an exhibition created by the Tribal Trust Foundation.
“We feel deep alignment with the Mbuti people’s connection to the forest, land stewardship, and spirit of community,” says Anneliese Schools Executive Director Liesa Schimmelpfennig. “We invite the local community to join us for a special exhibit celebrating this beautiful tribe so that we may enrich our cultural and environmental awareness curriculum and provide new learnings to our students.”
For thousands of years, the Mbuti people lived sustainably as hunter-gatherers in the world’s second-largest rainforest, Epulu, in what is presently the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They survived the Congo’s devastating history of war, disease and resource exploitation through their ability to change and adapt within their forest habitat. But now, as globalization and the demands of contemporary economics, politics, and technology are causing irreversible deforestation, Mbuti’s existence is threatened. They cannot survive without the forest – the source of their food, shelter, identity and spiritual connection.
In 2009, the Mbuti asked the Tribal Trust Foundation to organize an art exhibition that would foster international awareness and appreciation of the threatened Congo rainforest and the indigenous culture of the Mbuti. The award-winning video, Mbuti: Children of the Forest, is their message and plea to the world in their own voices. Photographs and documentary footage taken at the Okapi Wildlife Reserve by Molly Feltner in 2010 form the centerpiece of the exhibition. These powerful images, along with the traditional artifacts used by the Mbuti in their daily lives, offer a glimpse into the Mbuti’s symbiotic relationship with the rainforest.
The Mbuti Tribe Exhibition will be on display on Sunday, Nov. 6, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Anneliese Schools’ Willowbrook Campus, 20062 Laguna Canyon Road. The cost to attend the exhibition is free, and suggested donations will be accepted to support the school’s cultural awareness studies programs and curriculum. Anneliese Schools partnered with TTF Founder Barbara Savage and share this collection with the community through their non-profit partner, SEEDS Arts and Education.