The Antandroy of southern Madagascar embody the meaning of their name—“people of the thorns”. They have inhabited Madagascar’s austere landscape of thorn trees, spiny underbrush, and dry soils since the 16th century. Shaped by their harsh surroundings and often obstinate in the face of outside authority; they are a tough, fiercely passionate, and resilient people.
Cyclical droughts, poor soil, and locust swarms have always been a part of life in the south, however climate change and local deforestation appears to be pushing their hardship to the extreme. Severe drought has plagued the south for three of the last five years, and crop production was down 30-40% in 2009. Food staples such as cassava, sweet potatoes, corn, beans, and peanuts have become increasingly difficult to grow. Unpredictable rains and low intensity subsistence farming has left many farmers without the harvest needed to support their families. According to the World Bank, average rainfall in Madagascar has fallen by 10 % while average temperature has risen by 10%. The UN World Food Program has warned of famine and now calls for food aid in many areas to make up for the shortfall in 2009 crop production. The exhibition provides and honest and dignified look at the struggles and triumphs of the Antandroy daily life. The photos are intended to attest to the resilience and strength needed to deal with a changing climate and serve as an indicator of the challenges to come from climate change.