Land of horsemen

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The artwork

Photographie numérique
20/03/2021
Kazybek, Naryn oblast, Kyrgyzstan

Buzkashi is one of the most famous equestrian games in Central Asia. In Kyrgyzstan, it is called “Kok Boru”, a slightly different variation of the original game in which two teams of riders compete. The aim of the game? To score as many points as possible by dropping a sheep or goat carcass into the opponent’s “tai kazan” (goal) located at each end of the field. The body of the animal can weigh up to 35 kilos and is decapitated before the game starts. According to the Kyrgyz, this version of Buzkashi is the most violent, as riders and horses regularly hit the goal, a one-metre high mound covered with rubber tyres, at full speed. A week before this tournament, a 25-year-old from a nearby village died when he hit the goal. Almost every village has a field and some cities have official stadiums where professional players play. Each year, the national championship is held during the festivities surrounding Nowruz, March 21, when the Kyrgyz nation celebrates the beginning of spring.

A few themes from this artwork:

The artist

After several experiences in editorial offices, at Vanity Fair, Arte or Figaro Magazine, Maïlys Derville set up her own business in 2018 as a freelance journalist. It was also that year that she crossed paths with Corinne Vachon, a French photographer who has been documenting the lives of nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples for over ten years. Together, they went to Kenya, Afghanistan, Romania and Kyrgyzstan, each time with the aim of putting into perspective the history of men and women still living mostly in tradition. But if some of them try hard to perpetuate it, others open up little by little to the rest of the world and to the evolution… Photography appears then as one of the best means to testify and leave a trace. During these immersions, Maïlys develops a real love for the image, alongside her mentor, Corinne. At the crossroads between the artistic and the documentary, her photographic work has only one ambition: to capture the emotion of a scene and the essence of its subjects.

Our savoir-faire

Our savoir-faire

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