C4 Global Communications

Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher Exhibition
African Passion: Painted Bodies and Beyond

Four painted Surma Girls, Ethiopia
© Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher

African Passion: Painted Bodies and Beyond
April 6 – 30, 2013
Frank Pictures Gallery
Bergamot Station A–5, 2525 Michigan Avenue Santa Monica, CA 90404
Tuesday to Saturday 11:30am – 6:30pm, or by appointment

Private Reception: Saturday April 6th, 5:30 – 7:00pm
RSVP Laurie Frank laurie@frankpicturesgallery.com | 310.828.0211 | 323.839.6166 cell

Frank Pictures Gallery proudly presents “African Passion: Painted Bodies and Beyond” featuring the work of internationally renowned photographers Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher. These photographs are selected from their 15 books and the recent Annenberg Space for Photography exhibit “No Strangers: Ancient Wisdom in a Modern World.”

Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher's prints are available to order from:

“Painted Bodies: African Body Painting, Tattoos, and Scarification” is a stunning book that features extraordinary photographs of enduring cultures. This is Beckwith and Fisher’s fifteenth book of ceremonies and body painting of the African people. “One of the most beautiful books I have ever seen,” writes author Alex Shoumatoff.

Angela Fisher and Carol Beckwith’s extraordinary photographic expeditions take them to photograph and film ceremonies in remote parts of Africa. In June 2012, Carol and Angela journeyed by boat up Lake Turkana in Kenya to the Omo River Delta to visit the Dassanech, one of the most remote tribes in Ethiopia. They photographed the once–every–three–year Dimi Ceremony during which hundreds of men enter elderhood and their daughters are blessed for marriage and motherbood. A journey back in time, the Dassanech still perform this ageā€“old ceremony wearing black ostrich feather headdresses, leopard skins and colobus monkey capes. By night, Angela and Carol followed the men in dugout canoes hunting crocodiles.

Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher travels in Ethiopia 2012

Karo Courtship Dancers, Ethiopia

In January 2012, with careful planning and connections, they visited remote places in Ethiopia, focusing on the peoples of the Omo River Valley. The year before they photographed the Royal Kuba Kingdom as guests of the Royal family in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This little visited Kingdom is renowned for its exquisite raffia textiles, traditional palace and magnificent costumes worn during rituals in the Royal Court.

Angela and Carol met in Kenya thirty–five years ago. Their unique acclaimed images covering 150 African cultures were made on journeys of 270,000 miles throughout the African continent. As young female explorers, they saw Africa through the eyes of the people they lived with, photographing each group meticulously, from their body adornment to their ritual passages through life. Each image tells a story of the lives of the men, women and children within the vibrant traditions of these cultures.

Their extraordinary photographs are recorded in fourteen best–selling books and in their films. Their new book “Painted Bodies” (2012) follows “Maasai” (1980), “Nomads of Niger” (1983), “Africa Adorned” (1984), “African Ark” (1990), “African Ceremonies” (1999), “Passages” (2000), “Faces of Africa” (2004), “Lamu: Kenya’s Enchanted Island” (2009), and “Dinka” (2010). The special limited–edition books, hand printed in Santiago, Chile, are titled “Surma,” “Karo,” “Maasai,” and “Dinka.”

African Ceremonies,” their defining body of work published twelve years ago, is a double volume that sold close to one hundred thousand copies. It is a pan–African study of rituals and rites of passage from birth to death, covering 93 ceremonies from 26 countries. This book won the United Nations Award for Excellence for “vision and understanding of the role of cultural traditions in the pursuit of world peace.”

Honored twice with the Annisfield–Wolf Book Award in race relations for “outstanding contributions to the understanding of cultural diversity and prejudice,” Angela and Carol are also winners of the Royal Geographical Society of London’s Cherry Kearton Medal for their contribution to the photographic recording of African ethnography and ritual.

The photographers have made four films about traditional Africa, including Way of the Wodaabe (1986), The Painter and the Fighter, and two programs for the Millennium Series Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World. Numerous exhibitions of their photography and films have been shown in museums and galleries around the world. In 2000 their Passages exhibition opened at the Brooklyn Museum of Art featuring 97 mural photographs, six video films and a selection of African masks, sculpture and jewelry. This exhibition travelled to seven museums on three continents.

Beckwith and Fisher have done more than anyone to awaken the world’s appreciation of everything African, from adornment to the rapidly vanishing ceremonies,” says Peter C. Keller PHD, President of the Bowers Museum, Santa Ana.

In the words of Dr. Donald Johanson, Director, Institute of Human Origins, “Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher are not only truly remarkable photographers, but their dedication to preserving for all time the dazzling diversity of African ceremonies is unparalleled. Their celebrations of African cultures will forever serve as the most compelling and passionate portrayal of the splendor of human creativity from the very continent that gave rise to all humanity.”

Africa map of Beckwith and Fisher travels
Contact amanda@c4global.com for the original high-res images for publication.

African Ceremonies office in London: +44 207 433 3669 africanceremonies@btinternet.com

For more information and interviews contact: Caroline Graham (caroline@c4global.com)
C4 Global Communications Santa Monica, CA 310-899-2727 www.c4global.com