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“Betrothal” is an installation created from the image of a young woman featured in a documentary on the betrothal rites of the Himba tribe in Kaokoland, Namibia. Himba women are often betrothed while their mothers are still carrying them in utero, often in exchange for cattle. The cattle are the staple of this semi-nomadic tribe of herdsmen who breed cattle and goats as they move with their herds to the different waterholes from season to season.

For Himba women, clothes, hair and jewelry hold special meaning and form an important part of their tradition and culture. Himba women spend many hours every day grooming and caring for their beauty which includes applying a creamy mixture that includes red ochre over their entire body. These rituals and the Himba people ’s culture are threatened by the influx of tourism into Kaokoland who have introduced foreign concepts like giving sweets to children and alcohol to men.

In “Betrothal,” I combine the drawn image of a young Himba woman and her questioning face of her own future with sculpted fabric suggesting something as layered enduring landscape.
Details from "Betrothal" (right)