ALAIN BUU

BOUZKACHI À KABOUL

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The artist

Alain Buu was born in Paris in 1960 and spent his childhood in Vietnam and France. In 1986 he became a photojournalist and joined Gamma photo agency in 1989. Five years later he chose to become a freelance photographer and pursued more personal work. He discovered Afghanistan following the events on September 11th 2001 and chose to return there ‘to show the wild and authentic beauty of this unique country.’ He used Joseph Kessel’s novel ‘Les cavaliers,’ published in 1967, as a log book.  ... See more See less

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Afghanistan, Kabul, March 2005. Buzkashi is a national sport for the Afghans, a sort of rugby on horseback where the ball is the decapitated carcass of a goat or a calf. This sport, of Mongolian origin, dates back to Genghis Khan and is considered an ancestor of polo. Originally, Mongolians used their enemy?s head as a ball. For the riders the game consists of catching the goat or calf carcass, taking it to a point between 200 metres and 2 kilometres away, coming back and dropping the carcass in a circle called the circle of justice. Anything is permitted in order to seize the carcass: the riders jostle each other and crack whips. It is necessary to have a very strong grip and to be very supple to pick up the carcass from the ground whilst on horseback and subject to attack from opposing players. Buzkashi is a violent sport. The riders escape with swollen faces, broken arms or legs, and sometimes the violence of the attacks ends in death.

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Date photograph was taken

23 July 2015

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