Ivoirian Photographer Joana Choumali has documented the last generation of African citizens living in a big city like Abidjan with scarification on their faces. The photo series is called ‘Haabre, the last generation’ (Haabre means “writing” and “scarification” in Burkina Faso).
Choumali has been interviewed previously stating áthat the practice is disappearing due to the pressure of religious and state authorities, urban practices and the introduction of clothing in tribes. In many villages, only the older people wear scarifications. This series of portraits has raised the question of the link between past and present, and self-image depending on a given environment. Our opinions of our witnesses show how complex the African identity is today.
While conducting her research, all she found were pictures from the beginning of the century, taken by ethnologists, and only a few contemporary images. She has also had trouble finding people to photograph because of their rarity. This last generation of people bearing the imprint of the past on their faces, went from being the norm and having a high social value to being somewhat exclude. These last scarified are the last witnesses of an Africa of a bygone era.”
Photography: Joana Choumali