mystery photo at linhardt?
Many of you have seen this photo hanging in the gallery and have asked me about it. A few recommended I create a blog posting, so this is for you as well as the inquiring minds who want to know.
This is a photo I took back in 2007 in a remote part of Kenya with two Maasai elders as its subject. These women were captured in the middle of a “circumcision” dance for a young girl in their village who I had spent time with earlier in the day. At this particular moment when the picture was taken, the girl had been cut and was hidden in a mud hut just a few feet away from where these dances were taking place. Both women featured have gone through this ceremony decades prior; and the one on the left dances with a baby girl on her back who perhaps has a similar fate. These dances are often lead by one alternating woman who is adorned with a multi-colored round beaded necklace that is accented with the hair of a white Colobus monkey. She leads the other women who dance in a line towards a thin and bare wood pole. The wood pole marks the “boma” (hut made from cow dung and mud) in which the girl resides and recovers. There is also a leather bag propped nearby for offerings, which both signify and celebrate the Rite of Passage into womanhood.
Despite the fact that “circumcision”, or what many refer to as FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), is illegal in Kenya I have learned that many Maasai continue to practice this tradition. Regardless of how you feel about the practice (or how I feel about the practice), the concept of Ceremony and the tension that precedes it is curiously alluring and what I aimed to capture. I ask that you clear your head of judgement for the time being and invite you to view some other images I took that day—none of which, I assure you, could ever be censored: Click here to launch slideshow (please turn up your volume).