Monday, April 25, 2022

New Mask Inspired by the Surmis People of Ethiopia

I loved the photography I saw recently of Surmis tribes of Eastern Ethiopia.  They paint their faces, indeed, their entire bodies (they also practice scarification)  and create elaborate headpieces as well, usually from foliage or flowers.  Ethiopia actually has many different tribes and ethnic groups,  which share a certain amount of cultural exchange, but also have very different languages, customs, and religious traditions.  The Surmis have been affected in the past century by evangelical Christianity,  although they retain some of their earlier spiritual and folk traditions.

I wanted to make this mask, inspired by their beautiful faces and head dressing, as a Surmis (or Suris) Spring Fertility Goddess.  But alas, I was not able to find any such Goddess recorded in what little information is available online about their traditional religion.  All I could find is that they do have some practices of certain women (shamans?  Clan leaders?)  becoming "possessed" by spirits (Ancestral spirits?  Elementals spirits?) in order to be Oracles.  

So I decided to call this mask "The Spring Surmis Oracle".  I have no other name I can come up with for it.  For more information about the Surmis or Suris people:

No comments: