Inspired by the painting techniques and simple beauty practices of Ethiopia’s Surma tribe.
The Surma tribe of southern Ethiopia adorn their bodies with intricate patterns and contrasting bold blocks of colour. As they are nomadic people and they have no walls to paint on. Instead, they paint themselves, and each other with pigments from the river. They do this twice a year – for the planting and harvesting seasons. There is no religious significance to their paintings beyond the ritual of beauty.
We appropriate their techniques in honour of their approach.
A black man. British. Jamaican. Buddhist. He wears the markings of another man’s culture on his skin. Etched in with permanence. Are his tattoo’s considered cultural appropriation because they are not from his own history, but rather merely from his beliefs?
The colours painted onto his skin are inspired by english gardens. The techniques of the painting reminiscent of African tribes. Pigments, water and waxes.
Are these his to wear?
Do these paintings belong to the artist? Or do they belong to the gardens that grew the flowers and the lands that produced the muds?
How is he to learn the things he does which might offend you, if you do not tell him in a language he understands?