Desert Punks

Beautiful Wodaabe womanDESERT PUNKS (current theme: Wodaabe women of Niger)

Wodaabe Fulani women venerate beauty.  They have their faces tattooed during childhood, and wear their hair in large intriguing hairstyles: the back is braided, and the front is worn in a large, punk-like doo, covered with barrettes and other adornments. They love colorful garments, have many piercings, and cover themselves in ornate jewelry. Their herbal perfumes often hide the magic of a spell…

A woman’s most prized possession is her set of calabash bowls, which are made of hollowed out, dried gourds.  These decorated bowls are publicly displayed on a table beside the family bed; the more bowls on the table, the wealthier the woman is deemed to be.  While a few bowls have a functional use, such as for curdling milk, most are saved and displayed purely for ornamentation.