Sunday, April 26, 2009

Inspiration.....

A friend sent me these images.  Aren't they amazing?!   They are images taken by German photographer Hans Silvester.








Roberta Smith of the New York Times wrote on September 26th, 2008

"At once revelatory and disturbing, these color photographs taken over the last five years by Hans Silvester, a German photographer, document the extraordinary body painting of the Surma and Mursi peoples of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia. Semi-nomadic warriors, they live primarily by keeping large herds of cattle; their only Western accessory seems to be the Kalashnikov rifles they trade with Sudanese tribes.

They paint themselves or one another two or three times a day, using pigment made from earth or ground stone mixed with water. Executed quickly, the abstract, vibrantly patterned motifs reflect a sophisticated vocabulary of mark-making, finger-painting and hand-printing techniques; they extend across faces and sometimes center on a single feature, like a breast. They function as personal decoration, cultural expression and, when ash and cattle urine are added, insect repellent. Mr. Silvester says these people's interest in their painting supersedes any in sculpture, mask making, music or dance.

Mr. Silvester's pictures are almost exclusively closely cropped views of painted torsos, which objectify the subjects and enable us to look at them without them looking back. Yet the ephemeral art we encounter is humbling; it further erodes the idea of abstraction or painting as Western forms. They become basic human traits, expressed here with a skill that accrues through daily practice from childhood on. I'm grateful to learn of their existence, but can't help wondering what, if anything, art-world attention might bring them."

7 comments:

3rdEyeMuse said...

I find his images to be so inspiring ... the ingenuity of self adornment of these peoples is incredible.

Robyn @ Art Propelled posted some of his photo's a while back ...

... I looked through her archive and found the post here: http://artpropelled.blogspot.com/2009/03/expression-of-joyful-spirit.html ... she has some other images not featured here (though the first one is definitely in both), so I think it's worth your while to visit her post, too. :)

Tess said...

These photos are sooo amazing. The nature theme is awe inspiring. The eyes are haunting and the fact that these are of people that live this everyday and not people plsed is incredible. I hope the western world leaves these people in peace.

Shashi Nayagam said...

Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures.

Sue said...

Beautiful! The different ways of using plants/flowers to adorn themselves is fascinating.

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Beautiful and stunning images. I want to see more! They are truly magical and deep. Thank you for sharing them!

Hope you and family are well!
marsha

Pearl said...

Incredible is right, what beauty

Sabii Wabii said...

I'm so captivated by these photos. I love the use of hats also. I'm wondering if that is part or just for photos?
Marilyn, I just love your art! Living so close to you in Calif I would love to meet you when your back in the states again.
Terisa