For the Surma and Mursi people in the Omo valley of Ethiopia to spend much of their time involved in guerilla warfare –their homeland is a hotbed of the arms and ivory trades–they put together the most beautiful and creative looks I’ve ever seen! The natrual embellishments, courtesy of Mother Nature, are simply breathtaking!
They paint themselves or one another, using white, yellow, orange and ochre pigment made from earth or ground stone mixed with water. Executed quickly, the abstract, vibrantly patterned motifs reflect sophisticated mark-making, finger-painting and hand-printing techniques extended across the face and all over the body. They function as personal decoration, cultural expression and, when ash and cattle urine are added, insect repellent. Many use zebra skins for leggings and snail shells for necklaces.
Sadly, the origins of this astonishing tradition have been lost over the years. Nevertheless, we get to witness this beauty and continue telling the Surma and Mursi people’s story for our future generations 🙂