African Face Painting

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Getachew Silva
Mrs. Easter
English 10A
3/16/2012
African Face Painting
His face is covered in rich, dark luminous tones, of raw minerals dug from the earth. The designs are elaborate and painted with extreme detail, showing his striking features. Shades of yellow surround his cheekbones leaving his eyes bare, full of power and masculinity. The festival has begun and he must prove to her that he alone is the most beautiful and captivate her with his vigorous moves. Like many other tribes of Africa the Wodaabe tribe uses face painting to draw beauty. African face painting has been a thing of curiosity to many in the western civilization. Many tribes in Africa practiced face painting for reasons of festivals, rituals and status symbols and for other events.

Face painting is often seen in tribal festivals. The Wodaabe tribes of Niger apply face paint in their famous festival of beauty known as the Gererwol Festival (African 1). In this festival the men apply charismatic colors of gold and rich colors of red on their face and dance to win the hearts of the surrounding women. Like James wood said "the women do the judging and reward the winners with a night of love"(wood 1). This festival is a like beauty pageant in the west but the men are the contestants and they paint their face instead of putting on mascara. The Gerewol festival is where men and women go to find their spouse. In this festival a man can come with his wife and leave with a different one just as a woman can come with her husband and choose a new one(wood 1). Wodaabe men go to the festival looking for a new wife and knowing that theirs wives might not be theirs anymore so they dance to seduce the women around them. In the Wodaabe culture, beautiful eyes and white teeth are found attractive by women so the men paint their lips black to make their teeth brighter. They also paint their cheekbones and noses with colors like yellow and red to draw attention to their eyes and their facial bone...
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