HomeCreativity“The Flower Men”- Giovanna Aryafara Photography on Suri people

“The Flower Men”- Giovanna Aryafara Photography on Suri people

Most photographers need help to capture the essence of a place they visit. However, Australian photographer, Giovanna Aryafara, has managed to do so.

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She was deeply touched by the Suri people she met during her trips to Ethiopia, and Africa. The resulting images show the tribal people she encountered.

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Giovanna started her passion for photography in Australia. She then moved to New Zealand, where she worked as a school photographer for a couple of years.

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Giovanna has showcased her work in various countries, such as Australia, Bali, Thailand, and Brazil. She participated in several international festivals, including the Africa Photo Festival in New York and the Atlas of Humanity in Milan and Paris. In 2020, she was awarded Africa in Focus competition’s People’s Cultures & Communities category for her work.

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She travels to Ethiopia every year for photography and business trips.

Her love for art, textiles, and photography combine at her Bungalow Living Bali store. Giovanna’s passion for these subjects also manifests in her coffee house and photography gallery on the island. Her work can be found in her two retail establishments.

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Through her work, she aims to create images that evoke a sense of spirituality and awaken our emotions. Her subjects are those she meets during her travels, which she uses a minimal design-inspired lens to capture. Her desire to share the human experience also fuels her passion for photography.

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Through her work, she aims to raise awareness about the stories of individuals affected by violence and discrimination. She also supports various human rights groups.

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Giovanna supports organizations that work to create a more just and inclusive environment. One of these is Survival International.

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The Suri tribe is part of the Surma tribe, which also includes the Mursi. They live in an isolated part of Ethiopia’s Upper Omo Valley, near South Sudan’s border. This group is one of the last remaining African tribes that still wear lip plates.

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During a special occasion, the Suri people put on vibrant colored flowers and painted their bodies and heads. They do this by mixing various substances such as water, flowers, crushed rock, and leaves.

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The Suri are very tough and interesting people, and they have had their share of conflicts with other peoples, such as the Nyangatom. There have also been tensions with the Toposa in South Sudan, who are allied with the Nyangatom. Clashes with the Me’en have also occurred.

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When it comes to the Suri nomads, the mixed-race village highlanders often look down on them. There have been numerous conflicts between the highlanders and the nomads, with the latter often viewed as uncivilized individuals.

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The Suri villages range from 40 to 2,500 people. The decisions about their homes are made by an assembly composed of men and women, though the women are also involved in the debates. The discussions are led by the komoru, a ritual chief, and elders. The korumus are chosen by consensus among the members of the same clan.

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A woman leads each household. They own their fields and can dispose of the earnings from selling grain and beer. The women use the money to buy goats and sell them to cattle.

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The villages’ men are divided into four age groups: children, tegay, young men, and junior elders. When they are young, they help with the cattle. The tegay are not yet warriors, but they earn their way through the ranks by performing various tasks, such as herding and caring for the animals.

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The initiation ceremonies for people moving into the next generation usually occur every 20 or 30 years. During this period, the candidates are often insulted, given chores, and sometimes even whipped.

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Giovanna’s photography has gained a lot of attention worldwide and now the Suri people in southwest Ethiopia have been the target of various Western visitors and journalists. The main theme of this discourse is the discovery of a remote and pristine tribe. The people of the Suri are often depicted as being exotic and have been made to conform to this image.

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The agency of the Suri people as a people with their interests and problems is lost in most encounters. The presence of foreign forces is considered and addressed. 

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The traditional practices of the Suri have been disrupted for the last two decades due to the introduction of weapons. This has created a volatile and unregulated environment.

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The chief’s role was to promote non-violence and harmony among communities. In the past, this was done through strict rules and rituals, such as the firing of guns at rock formations to signify that bullets do not hit people and the sacrifice of cows. However, these days, these rituals are being replaced by calls for immediate and bloody retaliation.

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The Suri is at the margins of Ethiopia’s state. The government considers them to be troublemakers, and they have been discriminated against. They claim that they have been unfairly targeted, despite the attacks they have endured from their neighbors. The state has tried to ban certain harmful customs, such as lip plates and cattle raiding. However, these laws have yet to be able to prevent stick-fighting.

The development of a national park in the Suri land, financed by the European Union, is expected to stimulate wildlife tourism. However, it is unclear if the authorities will allow the traditional practices to continue.

For more- giovannaphotography.com

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