I did this oil painting of a Karo tribes man for the Warehouse of Contemporary Art show that took place last Saturday and wanted to talk a bit about this fascinating tribe. About 3,000 people make up the Karo tribe, who live on flood retreat areas by cultivating the land of the Omo river in south western Ethiopia. The original photo was taken by my friend
, who ventures to these remote areas of the world, which are often very hard to gain access to.
If you click on the image you will see that the face paint is actually raised off the surface and that the painting has a lot of texture.
What intrigued me about this image was that the face painting of this young man almost resembles the tree bark behind him, making him one with the land he so depends upon for his survival.
Tribal or cultural face painting has been used for many centuries in all corners of the world. Often having ceremonial or religious reasons, face painting is also used as a method of camouflaging in times of war. Some tribes even cover larger areas of their bodies with paint to give the person more strength and power. Interestingly enough the colors or designs chosen can be for different reasons.