ABOUT THE PYGMIES.ORG WEBSITE
Hunter-Gatherer Peoples of the African Rainforests
Pygmies.org is a website dedicated to the hunter-gatherer peoples living in Central African rainforests, commonly called Pygmies (for information on the origin and use of this term, see the Note on terminology).
This website has been created and is maintained by the Italian ethnomusicologist Luis Devin. It is based on the material collected during his fieldwork among the Baka of Cameroon and Gabon and among other pygmy groups, and has been accomplished with their invaluable contribution. A large part of the author's research has been possible, indeed, only thanks to the great patience and affection of his forest friends, who have accepted and given him hospitality in their camps over the years, offering him the opportunity of learning something of their culture and of being initiated, also with a specific rite, to the ineffable African rainforest world.
The site contains hundreds of photos concerning the life and traditional activities of these peoples, the Central African rainforest biodiversity, and the increasingly rapid transformation (and disappearance) of this world, plus some brief ethnographic descriptions serving as introduction to pygmy cultures or commentary on the photos. In addition to images and texts, each page includes sound or music recordings relative to the soundscape of the rainforest and pygmy camps.
All texts, photos, and audio recordings are by Luis Devin, and come from his field researches and from the subsequent post-production work for the web. Site contents and multimedia materials are updated periodically after each new field expedition, are protected by copyright and any reproduction is forbidden (read the Copyright notice for further details).
3. Mission, insights and projects
The main aim of these pages is to provide an introduction to the cultures of pygmy peoples and to promote their protection, documenting their richness and showing some of the factors that increasingly threaten their survival.
The materials presented here are, in any case, only a small part of the fieldwork documentation collected by the author. For those interested in further information or in-depth publications on the cultures or music of these peoples, some more extensive works are currently under preparation in various media, including a photographic book, a monograph on Baka Pygmy music and musical instruments, a collection of pygmy music on CD, some ethnographic video, and an autobiographical book on the author's fieldwork and initiation rite among the Baka of Cameroon. The availability of these publications will be communicated on this site and on the author's site.
A portion of proceeds will be used for humanitarian projects (with the purchase of medicines, food and other basic necessities) and research among the Baka and other pygmy peoples of Central Africa, through the direct work of the author and his collaborators, as well as that of some humanitarian workers present in a continuous manner on the field. In order to promote these projects, the author has recently founded the Likano Association, a non-profit institution for the study, preservation and promotion of biocultural diversity, working in particular in central Africa and Madagascar.
4. Site structure
The thematic sections currently available are:
5. Horizontal structure of the pages
Pygmies.org is mostly a horizontal website. Most of the inside pages are, in fact, horizontally structured, in order to give more emphasis and clarity to photographic documents and other content. Therefore those pages have to be scrolled horizontally.
* The page background is inspired by abstract patterns painted on bark clothes by Mbuti women, in the Ituri rainforest (Mbuti Pygmies of the Northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo). The decorations of the barks, which may refer to the reality of rainforest environments and Pygmy camps without offering a direct representation of them, are carried out with various natural pigments, using flexible sticks, liana cords, small stamps, or simply the fingertips dipped into the color.
About the Pygmies.org website (African Pygmies)Page URL: http://www.pygmies.org/about/
The time in the tropical rainforests of the Western Congo Basin, when you accessed this page, was 17:54 on Sunday, May 19, 2013.
For every minute spent on this page, at least 25 hectares (250.000 m²) of forest are destroyed around the world (source: WWF).