Bodypainting has been one of the earliest and most common forms of cultural and artistic expressions, regardless of whether it is done for religious, social or simply aesthetic reasons.
In Africa especially, bodypainting has historically had a significant place in many societies, often to signify one's social status or belonging to a religious group. In Ethiopia's Omo Valley, the Surma and Mursi tribes share a keen interest to bodypainting and extravagant decorations borrowed from nature. The technique and skill of body decoration is learned at a very early age, with mothers painting the babies who will later start to paint themselves. As a cultural manifestation, the art of painting and decorating oneself is of almost religious importance, despite its ephemeral and seemingly anecdotal character.
"Pigments" is a body of work by photographer Yannis Davy Guibinga and Makeup Artist Amal Afoussi exploring the cultural significance of bodypainting as a physical manifestation of Africans creativity and innovation. By borrowing the Surma and Mursi's free-flowing and ephemeral aspects of their artistic process, this series attempts to pay homage to these tribes while connecting it with very modern elements. A dialogue between traditional and contemporary is therefore created, with creativity at the center of the conversation. Through a new interpretation of the art of bodypainting, this series of images pays homage to some of the pioneers and forefathers of African creativity and artistic talent.
Photography: Yannis Davy Guibinga
Make-Up: Amal Afoussi
Models: Atlas Hapy, Yvenie Clementine, Maïmouna