The Body Canvas

I am very excited to share with you two of my pictures have been selected for an exhibition in London at the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI).  The exhibition has a goal to help develop an understanding of the personal, social and political reasons why people undergo permanent body modification and  explore the many ways in which communities around the world develop and express relationships.

These goals are very striking to me as they touch on what I have blogged about and discussed since returning from the Omo Valley.  Even though the practice of wearing lip plates is disturbing to people in the west, it compares to other practices around the world and especially the growing practice of tattooing and body piercing in the west.  The motivations can be argued to be different but I suspect they are very similar coming back to the need to belong.

It is interesting to me that the RAI’s goals include a focus on how communities develop and express relationships.  This is core to the practices I experienced in Ethiopia where belonging to the tribe is a matter of life and death, and each tribe requires a demonstration of commitment before you are admitted as a lifelong member.

The pictures on display at the exhibition can be found here and if you will be in London between now and January 13th and you wish to visit, please let me know and I will arrange a tour for you.  My pictures are displayed below.

Women and guns!


Title:  No Compromise

The Hidden Picture


Title:  The Hidden Picture

8 thoughts

  1. Congratulations, Andy! I am sure you will receive many more invitations, as well. As I have told you, the photos are extrordinary and these, in particular. I find them hard to look at, but realize it is only a cultural bias. And, I am sure many of our cultural traits are looked upon in the same way. Thanks for expanding our minds and vision.

  2. Ah, you see, you learn something every day! I hadn’t realized the men wear lip plates – I had always thought it was the women who underwent this type of adornment modification. Congratulations on being included in the exhibition – they’re stunning shots.

  3. Hi Andy

    Great news about your photography . We knew you were great yourself.

    Hope it goes well & the New Year is even better

    Love Vera & Ken xxxx

  4. Very impressive Andy…really is. The pictures are amazing…and the context is very interesting; aesthetics are culturally defined.

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