ISABELLE RICQ            


Letter to Bruno Manser is a photographic letter addressed to a man who mysteriously disappeared, from the place where he was last seen.

On a high plateau of the Borneo mountains is perched the village of Bario. Here, the Kelabit and Penan peoples have been co-existing for centuries, the former cultivating Sarawak’s most fertile soil, the latter roaming the surrounding forests. This is where on 23 May 2000 the Swiss activist Bruno Manser wrote a letter that to this day remains his last sign of life. He addressed it to his partner who had stayed in Europe and posted it from this village in eastern Malaysia.

After spending six years amid the Penan people, after sharing and initiating some of their struggles against logging companies, and after a price was put on his head by the local authorities, Bruno Manser disappeared without leaving a trace. He was officially declared dead in 2005. 

For those who are not familiar with his story or that of the region, we will provide a broad outline over the course of our pictures. To Bruno Manser we address this photographic letter from Bario, where we were able to observe just how relevant his claims still are and the progress made by his enemies of yesterday.

The book Letter to Bruno Manser has been published by Sturm & Drang.
This work has been completed with Christian Tochtermann.