Monday, 30 June 2014

Masks of Dwo | Aitor Lara

The masks of Dwo from José Bautista on Vimeo.

To start off the week, here's a really unusual dance ritual performed by the Bwa people of Burkino Faso.

According to Wikipedia, the Bwa people are an ethnic group indigenous to central Burkina Faso and Mali. Their population is approximately 300,000 and they are known for their use of elaborate masks, made from leaves or wood, used in rituals.

While 5% of the Bwa are Muslim, and 10% are Christian, the remaining 85% are animists. The latter worship a creator god called Wuro, whose son was Dwo, the god of new life and rebirth. The Bwa use leaf masks more than wooden ones, and these leaf masks frequently represent Dwo in religious ceremonies. The masks also represent the bush spirits including serpents, monkeys, buffalo and hawks. These performances generally take place in the dry season between February and May.

Aitor Lara is a Spanish photographer/videographer who worked in different countries bringing to light the anthropological dimensions of social minorities such as indigenous peoples, and sex workers. He showed his work in international photography fairs such as ARCO and ParisPhoto. He received a number of research grants, including one that allowed him to carry out a project in Uzbekistan. He published a number of books, including Maestranza, a photographic report about the bullring of Seville. He has published in magazines such as NewsWeek, Financial Times, Ojo de Pez orVokrug Sveta. In 2012, he published the book Ronda Goyesca edited by La Fábrica. He was a nominee of the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund Grant in 2012.