Joana Choumali Remembers an Ancient Tradition

By: Vasiliki Marapas - Sep 18, 2014
References: joana-choumali.squarespace & featureshoot
Joana Choumali's latest series, 'The Last Generation,' documents the last faces marked by a timeworn custom.

Scarification is the practice of making superficial cuts on the skin, which eventually form into permanent scars. People often performed "Hââbré," a means of using the scars to identify themselves among different tribes and villages. It was an ancient ritual, that, with the Westernization of African cities, has since gone out of style; certain areas have even gone as far as banning the practice.

Choumali sought out those living with scarification, those bearing a physical reminder of the past in modern times, and photographed them with benevolence and understanding. The scarring is a distinctive cultural marker, and one that is wholly rejected from mainstream society, leaving many with regret.