Hans Silvester-This is Africa through my Lens
March 13, 2010 2 Comments
The people of the Surma and Mursi tribes live in the Omo Valley of Southern Ethiopia are body painters: they paint their bodies with pigments made from the earth as an immemorial and quotidian practice – mothers paint babies, children and adults paint themselves and each other in a tradition that seems unchanged for thousands of years. Their paintings range from abstract designs of circles, lines, dots and swirls, sometimes focused on specific body parts, to all-over patterns of flowers, zig-zags and fingerprints that form a dazzling array on the entire body. White, yellow, orange and ochre; the natural pigments that they use are derived from the soil and rocks of their surroundings. The tribes’ daily paintings are an essential expression of their lives – more elemental to them than music or dance. Fascinated by the Surma and Mursi tribes’ painting practices and astounded by the beauty of their ephemeral art, Silvester captures the diverse and extraordinary effects that they achieve through their ancient tradition.