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Nong Shain Maw: Stone Breakers of the East Khasi Highlands


High in the mountains of north-east India, the indigenous Khasi make a living quarrying stone for shipment to Bangladesh. Hauled from the quarry and broken into smaller sized pieces by hand, the ‘nong shain maw’ – a Khasi word meaning ‘the people who break the rock’ – are paid as little as $2 per day. Mostly, it is elderly women and children who are tasked with this backbreaking and dangerous labour. The men who work at the quarry are called ‘nong ti maw’, meaning ‘the people who dig the rock’. This too is dangerous work, with two men being buried alive in landslides while working at the quarries in 2017. 

Nong Shain Maw: Stone Breakers of the East Khasi Highlands is a medium format photography exhibition by Ali MC. The exhibition documents the life of the Nong Shain Maw as ‘the people who break the rock.’

OPENING: Saturday 18 May, 4pm – 5.30pm
EXHIBITION: 18 May – 8 June
ARTIST TALK: Thursday May 23, 1pm – 2pm
Michael’s Cameras, Cnr Elizabeth and Lonsdale Streets, Melbourne
VENUE: FCAC Gabriel Gallery

Presented by Footscray Community Arts Centre and Human Rights Arts & Film Festival. Supported by Michaels Camera Video & Digital and Prism Imaging. 


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– Ali MC, Nong Shain Maw: The People Who Break the Rock East Khasi Highlands, India. 2016 (detail)

Date & Times

18 May – 8 June


FCAC Gabriel Gallery


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