No Strangers | Ancient Wisdom in a Modern World

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) focuses on the wonder of culture and the plight of indigenous people around the globe in its latest exhibition – no strangers: ancient wisdom in a modern world - in the John Hope Gateway, from June 28 to September 21.


Curated by esteemed anthropologist, author and photographer Wade Davis, this collection of incredible images is being shown for the first time in Europe. Close to 70 images, taken by some of the world’s most sought after photographers, are on view in an exhibition that explores the ways cultures express a shared humanity and navigate the circle of life.


no strangers poses a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? When the people of the world answer this question, they do so in 7,000 unique voices. Tragically, half of these may be silenced within a generation or two. At risk is our human legacy, a vast archive of knowledge and expertise. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of culture is a crucial challenge that should be faced.


Photographers featured in the exhibit are Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher, Wade Davis, Chris Johns, Lynn Johnson, Steve McCurry, Randy Olson, Chris Rainier and Hamid Sardar. Also included are Timothy Allen, Caroline Bennett, James P. Blair, David Hiser, Aaron Huey, Thomas Kelly, Mauricio Lima, William Fernando Martinez, James Stanfield, Brent Stirton, Amy Toensing, A Yin and Gordon Wiltsie.


The images in the exhibit present cultures such as the Tibetan Buddhists of Nepal and their 2,500-year-old traditions; the last rainforest nomads who struggle to survive in Borneo; Ethiopian tribes who participate in bull-jumping as a ritual of tribal membership and manhood; and the Lakota in South Dakota who continue their spiritual ceremonies such as Sun Dances and the use of sweat lodges. no strangers celebrates our diverse and sometimes unfamiliar world.

Photograph © Timothy Allen.

Central highlands of Papua New Guinea. A man and woman share an intimate moment during a courtship ritual in the central highlands of Papua New Guinea.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)