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Chiara Goia



Maldives: A Delicate Balance

The Maldives is an island nation of 1,192 islands stretched over 900 kilometers in the Indian Ocean. Being the lowest country in the world, it is seriously threatened by the sea level rise caused by global warming.

The Maldives are a memory to become. A place in continuous transformation, into its own duality: a touristic, heavenly escape from usual life and one of the first countries in the world that, according to scientists, will disappear from the geographical maps.

For decades the reality of this place has been hidden by a thirty-year dictatorship, engaged in taking advantage of the natural resources. A brief period of serenity and the beginning of an awareness campaign over the global warming issue brought by the first democratically elected president, ended with a coup in 2013 and was followed by political turmoil and instability that lasts to this day.

In the meantime, tourists keep pouring every day from all over the world, mostly unaware of the ecological and political issues of the country.

I have photographed in the Maldives between 2009 and 2011, documenting the first years in which the local life was finally unveiled after the dictatorship and showing its contradictions as well as its preciousness and vulnerability.