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Amanprana red palm oil and woman from Hamar

  Amanprana red palm oil and woman from Hamar

In their book Verre Schoonheid (Far Away Beauty) - or under the original title in Italian L'arte Del Corpo - Bertie and Dos Winkel show photos of individuals fully integrated in their environment, who cannot exist outside of the group. The ornamentation of their bodies tells about the stages of life.

They photographed isolated tribes who were threatened with extinction because of Western influences. Just like biodiversity is threatened with extinction because of monocultures. Twenty seven tribes from Africa, South America, India, Southeast Asia and Melanesia were immortalized to show respect for local rituals and to make the Western world more aware of the need not to impose its suffocating uniformity on the diversity of cultures. That is why Amanprana took one of the photos from this beautiful book to bring more attention to this challenge, i.e. preserving and respecting biodiversity between people, cultures and tribes. For example, more than 600 palm species are threatened with extinction because of palm oil monocultures.

This woman wears two heavy necklaces around her neck, which means she is married. The third necklace with a cylindrical end means that she is her husband's first wife. The Hamar tribe practices polygamy.

Hamar – Ethiopia – East Africa

Five hundred years before the start of our era, the Greek poet Herodotus wrote about Libyan women in North Africa as "decorated with fringes and painted red". A few thousand years later, the Hamar tribe still fits this description exactly. To create the traditional hair style, they rub a mixture of red ochre (clay) and animal fat into their hair. "Red ochre gave the prehistoric world the language of images" as the French prehistorian André Leroi-Gourham summarized it.

Coquetry and seduction aren't the only reason for the red colouring. In all eras and societies red ochre has always had a strong religious significance. It is linked to notions such as blood, vitality, fertility and even power. As unchanging priestesses of beauty the young girls unconsciously assume the customs of their long-ago ancestors and put layers of red clay on their skin, hair, possessions and jewellery.

'Body am I entirely, and nothing more' - Friedrich Nietzsche in Thus spake Zarathustra" In all corners of the world, ornamenting the body is a way for humans to honour the cosmos. Humans determine their identity through the way they ornament their body. Body ornamentations can create fear or move people, they can charm or create dread. Jewellery is part of body ornamentations. Jewellery in Africa is a fully independent object and marks the link between the physical and spiritual world. Jewellery provides the body with a social and religious symbolism and at the same time gives the body an unmistakably erotic charge. Among the Hamar tribe living in the Omo Valley in Ethiopia, jewellery has a major importance reflecting the wearer's social position.

Info : www.dos-bertie-winkel.com

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