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Jean-Michel Clajot October 12, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Benin.
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Scarification, Benin 2008

Jean-Michel Clajot (b. 1971, Belgium) began his professional career with his first trip to Somalia. After a stint as a photographer for various newspapers, he worked the next 10 years for News Press Agencies in Brussels (Reporters Press Agency). In 2006, he concentrated on Africa. He believes there is much more to this great and unknown continent than war, Aids, hunger, poverty. In 2007, he signed up with Cosmos Photo Agency in Paris, France for worldwide distribution and as well as Aurora Photos for North American sales. He has been working for over three years on scarification in Benin.

About the Photograph:

“Scarification, as a cultural activity, is widely performed across Africa. In essence, it is the practice of incising the skin with a sharp instrument, (such as a knife, glass, stone, or coconut shell) in such a way as to control the shape of the scar tissue on various parts of the body. Cicatrisation is a special form of scarification, whereby a gash is made in the skin with a sharp instrument, and irritation of the skin caused by applying caustic plant juices forms permanent blisters. Dark pigments such as ground charcoal or gunpowder are sometimes rubbed into the wound to provide emphasis. These cuts, when healed, form raised scars, known as keloids. The most complicated cicatrisation was probably found in the Congo Basin and neighboring regions, and among the Akan speakers of West Africa.”

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