Himba Woman, Namibia
the original painting measured 50 x 36 cms. and was painted in mixed media
The Ovahimba are a tribe of nomadic pastoralists who inhabit the desolate northwestern area of Namibia known as the Kaokoveld or the ‘land of the red women’. This is so called because these barebreasted women regularly smear their bodies with a mixture of butter and ground red ochre which protects their skin in the harsh desert environment. The Himba women dress in pleated goatskin skirts and wear headresses called ‘erembe’. Their jewellery is made from fat and ochre encrusted bark,copper, iron, ostrich shell and giant cowrie shells. As the area is so rugged and remote and therefore difficult to access, we were fortunate in that we only had to go as far north as Damaraland to meet our group of Himbas. Though we only had a short time there, I was so impressed by these women and the pride they had in their traditional way of life, though we might consider it harsh in the extreme. This is why I decided to present this piece with an almost sculptural effect, showing only the proud face on a textured white background. Only the skin is painted in pastel, the rest is acrylic painted over different textured fabric and yarn that have been applied as flat pattern pieces.
Available in a size A3 and A4 print