A Journey through World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage with Wiki Loves Folklore

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In the last four editions, we saw a wonderful progression of the world’s intangible cultural heritage with a photography contest organized from February to March annually at Wikimedia Commons, which is a media repository of free-to-use images, sounds, videos and other media. Let’s have a look back at the beautiful winning photographers of Wiki Loves Folklore 2022, as they take us to the heart of local traditions, rituals, and customs from around the world. These captivating images transports us to remote villages, bustling cities, and everything in between, showcasing the beauty and diversity of folklore in all its forms. Through these photographs, one can discover the traditional practices of communities from around the world, from the vivacious sounds and colors of folk festivals, to the vibrant displays of folk dances. Read further to know more about the expert view of our Jury and the story behind these winning photographs.

First Winning Image

Child’s Faith to Santo Niño by Michol Sanchez. (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This photo was taken by Michol Sanchez from the Philippines. According to Michol, he has always loved taking images of cultural festivals, with a focus on the natural candid shots. This photo describes the annual fluvial procession which is a solemn tradition that marks the commencement of the official Sinulog Festival. This event is a tribute to St. Niño, who is sent to visit his foster father, St. Joseph, at the St. Joseph Parish in Mandaue City. It is a time of reverence and celebration, as the people of Cebu come together to honour the patron saint of the city. Our jury comments about the good contrast between light and dark and, figuratively speaking, between the world of adults and the world of children. They describe this photo as a very powerful image that tells a story about a squatting child feeling insecure about itself where the standing soldiers in the surrounding give a glimmer of hope for a bright future. The quality of the image is also outstanding: the child is in focus as the primary subject, whereas the legs of the soldiers create an infinite row on its both sides. The contrast of this image illustrating strength and humanity in the face of adversity, an uncertain future, innocence in the face of interests, and vulnerability and beauty in the face of violence is shocking. Festivals have a special value in the Philippines, being known for their incredible diversity – wonderful costumes, glorious processions, varied dance, a sea of colours and shapes.This was the fourth consecutive year for submissions from Philippines making it to the winning images of the year. This photo shows a very different, more intimate view: at the edge of the procession, a child kneels, full of trust and hope in the help of the Holy Child. The child is effectively highlighted by the contrast in brightness and colours to the dark uniforms of the soldiers. This is an impressive photograph. It has also gained an urgent, worldwide topicality through the suffering that is happening even to innocent children right now in the horrific war against Ukraine – and in countless other conflicts around the world. Michol Sanchez was also interview on GMA Regional TV, watch his TV interview in Filipino language here

Second Winning Image

Moroccan Berber at Sahara Dessert by Dieglop (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This stunning photo was taken by Diego Lopez in Morocco, a land of extremes and great beauty. The Berber people of Morocco inhabit the vast Sahara Desert, and have adapted to the harsh environment, developing a unique culture and lifestyle that has endured for centuries. From their traditional clothing to their music and cuisine, the Berber people have created a vibrant culture deeply rooted in the desert. From the bustling markets of Marrakech to the remote oases of the Sahara, the Berber people are a living testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Our jury commented that the reduction to seemingly only two colors and the integration of the landscape has succeeded excellently. This image depicts a man in his home environment, welcoming strangers with his widely open left hand and holding his unfolded litham with his right hand. The yellowish color of the litham perfectly matches the color of the sand in the desert, and the people in the background witness human activity in the most extreme areas of the world. The colors seem to be in synchronization with each other. Juror Roman commented that this is a funny, cheerful picture, and it’s also very well done. The traditional dress of the Moroccan Berbers includes a headscarf, which is made the subject here in a very refreshing way – the man has partially unwound it and now it forms a beautiful shape in the wind that harmonizes with the shapes of the sand dunes. Added to this is the harmonious color palette of the picture and the very balanced composition. The photographer Diego Lopez likes to document his journey to different countries and capture different cultures with his camera, and this photo is a perfect example of his success.

Third Winning Image

Women Painting Pattachitra Artform In Odisha By Euphoric Captures (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This photo, taken by Camelia Banerjee (User:Euphoric Captures) in the small village of Raghurajpur, Odisha, India, captures a woman creating stunning Pattachitra paintings and other captivating works of art. Her creations are proudly displayed throughout the village, showcasing her remarkable talent and skill. Our jury comments on the beauty of the traditional dress and the obvious joy of the activity creates a good mixture with the light and the outside world indicated on the wall. They add that the picture abounds in vividness, dynamics, and colorfulness. The female artist pays careful attention to the painting, resulting in beautiful Pattachitra artworks all over the place. A very important detail is the woman’s smile, which shows that she is content with her work. Appreciating the harmony of the colors, they add that it is an excellent environmental portrait which shows the female artist at work together with her products. The photo depicts the joy and concentration with which the artist works on her art – it appears harmonious in that the woman herself is wearing a dress patterned in a similar style to her artwork. The light and composition of this photo are beautiful. This photo was taken with a normal smartphone, yet the details are well depicted, showing that it is now possible to take excellent pictures of many subjects even with smartphones. The photographer of this image, Camelia, states that she went to Puri, Odisha in November 2022 with her family. During their last day of stay, one of her cousins suggested visiting the village of Raghurajpur. Upon arriving, they were amazed by the beauty of the village, with folk art on the walls of every house. The people were so welcoming, and Camelia Banerjee states this image creates a feeling of serenity. The woman in the image seems to be enjoying her work, and despite the fact that most of their income depends on the visits of tourists, they always have a smile on their face.

Top 10 Images

Traditional Body Painting On Kids Of Ethiopian Banna Tribe by WAVRIK (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This photo, taken by WAVRIK in Ethiopia, captures a captivating display of vibrant colors and intricate designs. For centuries, traditional body painting has been used to express cultural identity and to celebrate special occasions in Ethiopia. It is a unique way for children to express themselves and explore their creativity. Juror Reinhold remarked, “Wonderful body painting that contrasts with the tattoos of the civilized world from which the flip flops have already penetrated to here. The impression of the people acting at dizzying heights is well brought out by the photographer.” Juror Roman added, “The photo of the children walking on stilts in Ethiopia is exciting because it was taken from a low perspective: the ground is not visible, the children seem to be standing straight in the sky on their stilts. At the same time, it is a dignified portrayal: the photographer is not looking down at the children, but up at them, and they appear full of pride and self-confidence. The traditional body painting is clearly visible and appears even more striking against the blue sky.” Juror Famberhost commended the representation of old tradition in this image. This stunning image of Ethiopian children adorned in traditional body paint, standing tall on stilts, is a powerful reminder of the beauty and resilience of their culture.

Peacock Dance Performer by TAPAS KUMAR HALDER (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This stunning photograph, taken by Tapas Kumar Halder in India, captures the essence of the traditional Peacock Dance. During the harvest festival of Thai Pongal, girls in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala dress up in vibrant makeup and costumes to perform the centuries-old ritual, celebrating the bounty of the harvest and the beauty of nature. Juror Reinhold praised the photo, noting its “successful representation of body painting on a picture-perfect face,” while Famberhost commented on the “magnificent perspective” of the dancer’s head. Juror Roman added that the photo was “beautiful in excellent technical quality,” with the dancer’s face appearing vivid and three-dimensional against the softly blurred background. The colors of her makeup glow like peacock feathers, perfectly complementing the Peacock Dance. The dancer’s gaze is expressive and speaks to the deeper meaning of the ritual. The crop is also just right, creating a harmonious composition.

Karen Tribal Woman In Traditional Clothes by Varvara Kless-Kaminskaia (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This stunning photograph, taken by Varvara Kless-Kaminskaya in Thailand, captures a Karen tribal woman dressed in her traditional attire, sitting and sewing in an ethnic village in Pattaya. Her vibrant clothing stands out against the quaint backdrop of the village, providing a unique insight into the culture of the area. Juror Reinhold praised the image, noting the traditional craftsmanship was well represented and the seemingly floating thread enlivened the picture. Juror Roman commented, “Another environmental portrait of an artist at work, this time taken in a Karen ethnic village in Thailand. The artist looks up from her work and smiles at the viewer, drawing them directly into the picture. In the background, we can see the artist’s products, and her clothing further emphasizes the craftsmanship of the area. The technical quality is excellent, the indirect light is beautiful, and the colors are vivid yet not exaggerated.”

Golden Eagle Traditional And Folk Festival Competition by Gabideen (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This stunning photograph was taken by Gabideen in Mongolia during the Golden Eagle Traditional and Folk Festival Competition, an annual event held in Bayan Ulgii Province, Western Mongolia. This unique competition celebrates the region’s rich cultural heritage, featuring traditional music, dance, and art from participants from all over the world. It is a great opportunity to experience the vibrant culture of Mongolia and to connect with people from different backgrounds. The image captured at the event showcases a lively hunting scene in a seemingly vast and inhospitable landscape. Juror Reinhold noted that the landscape provides habitat, while juror Roman highlighted the riders in traditional costumes, with their bright red caps and dark clothes standing out against the muted colors of the barren landscape. Juror Famberhost remarked that the image was beautifully captured of an old tradition, with the riders riding directly towards the viewer and the high splashing water indicating their speed.

Man Dressed In Native American Traditional Costume by BENNY GROSS.1 (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This stunning photograph was taken by Benny Gross in the ancient city of Cusco, Peru. Capturing the rich history and culture of the region, the image depicts a man dressed in traditional robes emerging unexpectedly from a narrow door in the wall and playing his instruments. Juror Reinhold praised the photographer for finding a good representation of historical architecture, costume and music, while Juror Roman noted the effective use of the uniform background in muted colors to emphasize the scene. The picture appears three-dimensional and is well lit, allowing one to study every detail of the clothing and musical instruments. The story behind the photograph is just as captivating. Benny and his wife were walking through the streets of Cusco when they heard the sound of ethnic music coming from a wall. As they approached, the impressive Indian came out through a narrow opening and without hesitation, Benny captured the moment. The couple enjoy taking long trips around the world to experience different and authentic cultures, and Benny’s photos aim to present the look as it is, without interference.

Children Learning To Play The Local Drum In Northern Region Of Ghana by Sir Amugi (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This stunning work was photographed by Sir Amugi in Ghana’s Northern Region. It captures the joy and enthusiasm of a child mastering the intricate rhythms and melodies of traditional drums. This image highlights the importance of cultural heritage and the valuable lessons that can be learned through music, such as collaboration, discipline, and creativity. The photo was praised by the jury for its ability to capture the essence of the moment.

Photographer Sir Amugi revealed that the photo was taken during a walkathon organized by Dagbani Wikimedians User Group. Through their travels and photography across Ghana, they were able to capture this special image. It is this unique ability to capture the beauty of the moment that makes Sir Amugi’s work so remarkable.

Women Performing Traditional Dhunachi Ritualized Dance Worship by Bhuppigraphy (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This stunning photograph, taken by Sir Bhupendra Singh in India, captures the mesmerizing beauty of the traditional Dhunuchi Dance. As the dancer gracefully moves in a rhythmic fashion, the incense burner is waved in the air, filling the atmosphere with its sweet and calming aroma. This ancient Bengali ritualized dance of worship is a reminder of the power of faith and devotion, and is a beautiful way to honor the divine. Our jury, Reinhold and Roman, praised the photograph for its excellent depiction of smoke in incident light and dancers moving in the semi-darkness. The muted colors, the smoke highlighted by the oblique light, and the play of sharpness and blur all result in a very atmospheric image. As the winner of the photo competition, photographer Sir Bhupendra Singh said he was honored to have captured this moment during his pandal hopping during the Durga Pooja, and believes the image truly captures the tradition of Bengal culture. 

Miao Folkdance In Guizhou, China by PeterSzabo83 (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This captivating photo, taken by SPeterSzabo83 in China, showcases the traditional Miao folk dance of Guizhou. Characterized by its intricate movements and vibrant costumes, often adorned with intricate embroidery and beading, this dance has been performed for centuries and is a beloved part of the Miao culture. Accompanied by traditional instruments such as drums, gongs, and flutes, the atmosphere is festive and alive. Juror Reinhold commented that the photo of the dance performance shows everything to be traditional and the cobblestones seem to reflect the rhythm. Juror Roman added that the photo is a beautiful shot that not only captures the traditional dance of the Miao, but also their garments and the architecture in the background. The ornate paving of the square corresponds to the round positioning of the dancers, creating a sense of unity in the image. Witnessing the Miao folk dance is a unique way to experience the culture of Guizhou, and it is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who see it.

Romanian Teens In Traditional Clothes Are Dancing At “Hora Bucovinei” – Folk Festival, Frasin – Romania by ShadowNighy (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This stunning photo was captured by photographer Rares Andrei Sandru în Romania. The Romanian teenagers, dressed in traditional garb, were joyfully dancing at the Hora Bucovinei Folk Festival in Frasin, Romania, showcasing the vibrant colours of their costumes and the lively music. The festival is a celebration of the culture and traditions of the region, and it provides a great opportunity for the youth to come together and express their heritage through dance. The jury member Reinhold commented on the image saying,” The clothing of the happy people creates a bridge to the seemingly wild environment in which these people live through the fur they use.” Juror, General Bassett, another jury member, noted, “La festa del poble.” When asked how they obtained the images used in this year’s campaign, the photographer Rares Andrei Sandru said, “Participating at the folk festival and that they believe authenticity is what distinguishes their images.”

“Pece Atanasoski” Folk Festival by Lenivongeleva (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Natasha Geleva captured a stunning image at the internationally renowned Festival of Folk Instruments and Songs Pece Atanasovski in the village of Dolneni, near Prilep, Macedonia. Since its inception in 1974, the festival has brought together talented musicians from around the world to celebrate the traditional music of the region. The vibrant display of Macedonia’s unique culture, from the haunting sounds of the gajda to the lively rhythms of the tapan, is a sight to behold. The fusion of the wide landscape and traditional clothing has been highly praised by jurors Reinhold and Roman, and the evening light gives the photo a special mood. Natasha Geleva, the winner of the photo campaign, said that she obtained most of the images from the festival for folklore music in the village Dolneni in Macedonia.

Best Video

Yoruba Storytelling by Iyailu (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

The winning video of this year’s competition shines a light on the timeless tradition of Yoruba storytelling in Nigeria. As the Juror Reinhold pointed out, the entry effectively captures a tradition that has been passed down through generations and will hopefully continue to be preserved in this way. Juror Roman also praised the clever and endearing nature of the video, noting how it demonstrates how to tell a story and honor a tradition with minimal resources. The film emphasizes the beauty of Yoruba storytelling, and how it motivates people, links generations, conveys experiences, and enriches our lives. It serves as a reminder of the significance of safeguarding our cultural traditions for future generations to appreciate and learn from.

Best Audio

Chendamelam of Kerala by Shagil Kannur (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Recorded by Shagil Kannur in Kerala, India, the Chenda Melam is a traditional instrument used in the folk festivals of the state. This cylindrical drum, made of wood and animal skin, is played with two sticks and creates a vibrant and energetic atmosphere during celebrations. It is an integral part of the traditional music of Kerala. In order to capture media for this event, the winner of the event attended numerous folk events in their region. All of their contributions to the event were purely folklore, captured from live events, often crowded and in low light. Despite the sensitivity of the people towards their ritual functions, which often resulted in irritation towards photography, the experience was still interesting. Reinhold, one of the jury members, commented that the rhythm and singing carried the listener into a foreign world. Roman, another jury member, added that the audio gave a good impression of the traditional Chenda drum and of the music it is used for, thus capturing the exciting atmosphere at a folk festival of Kerala.

Top Uploaders

AmanAgrahari and Sumolari were the top uploaders during the contest. AmanAgrahari shared images of his culture and everyday life, including traditional wedding ceremonies. Sumolari, on the other hand, explored the streets of Fallas, capturing anything that caught his eye – from monuments to people dressed in traditional costumes, fireworks, musicians, and more. It was a great opportunity to experience the ever-changing atmosphere of the city.

2023 Edition

We hope you have been inspired by the beauty and diversity of global folklore captured in these photographs. The participating photographers have done an excellent job in showcasing the cultural heritage of their countries and communities.

The 2023 edition of Wiki Loves Folklore has begun and we invite you to join us in this celebration of cultural heritage by participating as a photographer or simply by sharing your own local traditions and customs. Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur with a passion for capturing the essence of folklore, your contributions will be a valuable addition to the Wikimedia Commons. By participating in Wiki Loves Folklore 2023, you’ll have the opportunity to share your own unique perspective on the heritage of your community with the world. So grab your cameras and start exploring the folk culture of your country, and let’s create a comprehensive and free media library for the world to appreciate and learn about different cultures. 
Stay tuned as we continue our journey of celebrating folk culture with you. Upcoming next is the journey towards Feminism and Folklore, an article writing contest organized in over 35 languages in Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, in the theme of folk cultures and women in folk professions.

This Blog was reposted from Medium

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