Tahnee Juguin is an ethnographer, project coordinator and scriptwriter from France. For the past 10 years, she has devoted her life to indigenous matters, through indigenous film making and scriptwriting. In September 2019, in collaboration with the illustrator Jean-Denis Pendanx and Futuropolis Editions (France), she released a 160-page comic book called Mentawaï !, from which some of these artworks presented here are taken.

Tahnee plans to continue developing projects interweaving ethnographic data and storytelling with Mentawai people. She believes in storytelling as a tool of empowerment for indigenous communities and as one of awareness-raising on ethnographic matters for the public.

Mentawaï !

Frame 1: Teteu, under the dictatorship, did you live in uma or in a village? – In uma at first…

Frame 2: And then, I went to jail for nineteen days… 

Frame 3: because of this tattoo…- Indonesian people didn’t like tattoos. They didn’t want them.

Frame 4: Today, they bring tourists to see our tattoos!…

Frame 5: Makalah sia. They lost. 

Frame 7: Pasirekam film? 

Frame 8: He is asking you if you are making a movie? 

Frame 9: Ah ! Me? Nooo, it’s just… – I like it, that’s it.

Frame 10: Do you know this text by Laurens Bakker, the anthropologist ? 

Frame 11: That’s what made me come here. 

* Words written in italic are immediately translated in the bubble or are not translated on purpose.

* Sikerei songs are not translated because of the secret character of the sikerei language used. 

“The Mentawai islands are located in the extreme west of Indonesia, where I spent more than 2 years living with indigenous communities. In a supposedly ethno-documentary shooting context, Mentawaï ! focuses on the relationship between the one who films and the one who is being filmed.

The book was created from the outset (writing / sound & video recording) in collaboration with Mentawai people. Two of my Mentawai fellows then have continued to work with me on the script, and then also with Jean-Denis Pendanx, the illustrator, checking each page from drafts to final document, in order to avoid ethnographic errors.”