Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration from Africa

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Overview

The scene of tribal conflicts and guerrilla incursions, Ethiopia’s Omo Valley is also home to fascinating rites and traditions that have survived for thousands of years.
The nomadic people who inhabit the valley share a gift for body painting and elaborate adornments borrowed from nature, and Hans Silvester has captured the results in a series of photographs made over the course of numerous trips.

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Editorial Reviews

Huffington Post Arts
“The images are a magical portal to childhood fantasy and play, to a lost world of unfettered, unfiltered imagination and creativity.”
Publishers Weekly

In this stunning collection of photographs, Silvester (Ethiopia: Peoples of the Omo Valley) celebrates the unique art of the Surma and Mursi tribes of the Omo Valley, on the borders of Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan. These nomadic people have no architecture or crafts with which to express their innate artistic sense. Instead, they use their bodies as canvases, painting their skin with pigments made from powdered volcanic rock and adorning themselves with materials obtained from the world around them-such as flowers, leaves, grasses, shells and animal horns. The adolescents of the tribes are especially adept at this art, and Silvester's superb photographs show many youths who, imbued with an exquisite sense of color and form, have painted their beautiful bodies with colorful dots, stripes and circles, and encased themselves in elaborate arrangements of vegetation and found objects. This art is endlessly inventive, magical and, above all, fun. In his brief text, Sylvester worries that as civilization encroaches on this largely unexplored region, these people will lose their delightful tradition. 160 color photographs. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500288054
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 4/27/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 309,686
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Hans Silvester is a member of the Rapho photographic agency. His most recent reports took him to Rajasthan, where he photographed the people of the Thar desert and the incredible bestiary of Shekhawati wall paintings. His books include Natural Fashion and A Window on Africa. Silvester lives in France.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Artful and Thought-Provoking

    This book makes a great gift for any person interested in tribal cultures. The photos are quiet, tasteful studies in creativity and beauty of nature and subject, that, although the book is titled "Natural Fashions", deal not so much with clothing (which the word "fashion" likely calls to the minds of many readers) but with body art and modification that incorporates style elements found in the natural environment of tribal people. Despite the subdued feel and quiet dignity of these photos and their subjects, each image explodes with color, and led this reader to wonder more about the significance of each decoration and the lifestyles of the indigenous people of the Omo valley.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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