Joana Choumali, Winner POPCAP'14

Born in 1974 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Lives in Abidjan Cococy, Ivory Coast
www.joanachoumali.com

Hââbré, The Last Generation, 2013

Hââbré is the same word for writing / scarification” in Kô language from Burkina faso. Scarification is the practice of performing a superficial incision in the human skin. This practice is disappearing due to the pressure of religious and state authorities, urban practices and the introduction of clothing in tribes. Nowadays, only the older people wear scarifications. During my research, all I found were pictures from the beginning of the century, and only a few contemporary images. I also had trouble finding people to photograph because of their rarity. This series of portraits lead us to question the link between past and present, and self-image depending on a given environment. Opinions (sometimes conflicting) of our witnesses illustrate the complexity of African identity today in a contemporary Africa torn between its past and its future. 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 “excluded”. They are the last witnesses of an Africa of a bygone era.