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Another Himba woman

This was an extremely difficult painting to photograph. I used a smoother support material and combined with the slight gloss of the acrylic paints it reflects light and produces unwanted highlights and loss of contrast in the photograph. These are not visible when looking at the original painting. There is also some inaccuracy in the colour reproduction. In the original the reds and yellows are richer and more vibrant than they appear in the photograph.

The Himba People

The Himba people live in the northwest Kunene region of Namibia, previously known as Kaokoland. It is a remote, rugged, mountainous and dry part of the country. The Himba keep sheep, goats and cattle. They live a semi-nomadic life, moving frequently to find new grazing for their livestock in this arid land. For shelter they build simple, cone shaped, structures from saplings using a mix of mud and animal dung as a type of plaster.

The Himba have maintained their traditional dress and culture. The women are normally topless and wear short skirts made from animal skins. To protect their bodies from the harsh African sun and provide decoration they cover their bodies with a paste made from animal fat and ochre mixed with aromatic herbs and resin from the Omuzumba shrub. This paste, called Otjize, is a deep red colour, a sought-after look in Himba culture. It certainly helps to give a very striking appearance.

The women embellish themselves with ornaments and jewellery mad from shells, iron and copper. Their hair is plaited into intricate shapes using the same Otjize paste using different styles to indicate marital status.

There are apparently only approximately 12 000 Himba people and a current potential threat to their traditional way of life is the proposed Epupa Dam.


Andy Hadfield said…
much prefer these ones i think... richer colour - charcoal can be kind of pasty - but i suppose it has its applications. these are great. you selling anything yet?

(I must register you on the aggregators check out for instance - just need to find the time)
Carol said…
Not yet - havent had the courage to take them to a Gallery yet. All my work looks so much better in real life! Extremely difficult to photograph both acrylic and charcoal!

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