From the series ‘NomadsLife’ by Dutch photographer Jeroen Toirkens.
Since 1999 Toirkens has been following the lives of various nomadic tribes in Central Asia, Russia, Mongolia and the Arctic region. He discovered that globalisation, poverty and climate change are making it increasingly difficult for them to maintain their traditional way of life. With NomadsLife Toirkens creates a diverse and often poignant picture of nomadism in the 21st century.
In 1999 Jeroen Toirkens became fascinated by the nomad families high in Turkey’s Bolkar Mountains. He encountered the way of life of the Yörük, who were struggling with the pressures of a modernising Turkey. What were originally their nomadic pastures were being bought up by real estate developers, and many of the young people were departing for life in the cities. After that he visited other originally nomadic peoples who were encountering comparable problems. For instance, in 2005 and 2006 he and the journalist Jelle Brandt Corstius spent time with the Sámi and the Nenets in Russia. Before the Soviet era family units from these tribes were constantly on the move with their herds. Under the Soviet regime they were forced to become workers on collective farms, the kolchoses, a policy from which they are still suffering the consequences. Most recently Toirkens visited Barrow in Alaska, the centre for traditional whaling. There the nomadic life has already made way for a settled lifestyle.
In March 2011 the book Nomad was published by Belgian publisher Lannoo.