Man as Art

Most of you have probably seen some of the horrendous and painful images coming out of the Mideast recently, harsh reminders of the inhumanity mankind is capable of visiting upon ourselves.  So, it was a welcome breath of fresh air to receive a link recently from a friend, noted photographer Dorit Thies, who shared some moving images taken in Africa by French photographer Hans Sylvester.  Dorit, whose images have appeared in major shows around the world, has herself taken some incredible photos in Africa in places such as Uganda and Mali.  So when she mentioned these images were special, I knew to expect something exceptional. What an understatement: “special” doesn’t begin to describe this prelapsarian imagery, aggregated in a slideshow entitled “Les Tribus de l’Omo” (The Tribes of the Omo.) Being that the slideshow’s intro is written in French and my command of the language is limited to ordering off a Continental menu, I could only discern a few elements of the backstory: the images were taken in the East African portion of the Great Rift Valley, an area in southern Ethiopia bordered by Sudan and Kenya, which is highly significant seeing as most research indicates this area is the cradle of homo sapiens.  The commentary also notes that the photographer has been able to capture subjects who have transformed their bodies into works of art as breathtaking as anything created by Klee, Picasso or Miro. It was deeply satisfying looking at these profound images which so beautifully illustrate the power of the human creative spirit and our elemental connection to nature.  Images like these are especially important today — powerful windows into what is essential and worth preserving about man as well as evocative reminders of an innocence that has hopefully not been totally lost.

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