Ever thought of leaves, flowers or grass as a fashion accessory? These tribes known as the Surma and Mursi people living in the Omo valley of Southern Ethiopia are doing just that taking Ethiopian Tribal Fashion to a Whole new level. With nature alone as their inspiration and armed with leaves, grass, flowers and natural dyes as their fashion tools, these tribal people have their own unique sense of fashion.
These tribal people use white clay and natural dyes to paint their faces and bodies while using beads of various bright colors to string necklaces and wear them.
Wild flowers and dry grass are their natural head accessories and their ears are pierced at an early age to be fitted by these large round earrings.
They also seem to wear fur crowns capped with feathers harvested from various birds found in the region.
Their homelands are mainly remote and largely unexplored areas located in desolate mountains in largely unknown parts of the country.
These people are believed to be at risk in losing their homelands due to various causes such as rapid urbanization and the Sudanese Civil War where these unknown parties are rumored to provide these people with modern weaponry such as AK47 guns.
Many photographers have expressed disappointment of this country’s tourism being wrongly promoted as a fancy dress parade performed solely for the benefit of the foreign visitors who pay for the privilege of photographing them and who are always accompanied by an armed guard.
The lives of these wonderful tribes have been beautifully captured on film by renowned German Born photographer Hans Silvester whose work has been exhibited at Marlborough gallery in Monaco and France between 2009 and 2010.
The artist described his involvement into the lives and tradition of these Ethiopian tribes as an effort to “save…as much as possible of this truly living art, which is mobile, changing, subject to infinite variation, and whose constituent elements…form a link between man and nature.”