Patrick Willocq and the “Walés”​

Self-taught French photographer Patrick Willocq has lived and worked 34 years in diverse cities throughout his career, including Kinshasa, Shanghai and Hong Kong…

In 2013, he launched an artistic project with no equivalent documenting the Ekondas, a pygmy people living in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some women of the tribe, at the birth of their first child, go back to their parents to live in seclusion for up to five full years. These women are then called “Walés”.

In collaboration with an ethnomusicologist and with the help of all the inhabitants of the Ekondas villages,Willocq stages the stories of the Walés in bright decorations of color and fantasy, building all his sets in the middle of the bush or camps, mostly with materials found locally, without Photoshop montage or collage.

The result is an unprecedented series of pictures gathering portraits and representations of the Walés’ daily life.

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