Documenting African Women’s Tattoo and Scarification Histories

Documenting African Women’s Tattoo and Scarification Histories

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Interactive session with Jessica Horn, Laurence Sessou and the Renaissance Skin project

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''.the temple of her skin is a visual documentary project exploring the stories, traditional practices and aesthetics around African women and our tattooing and scarification journeys - exploring the largely undocumented world of how and why we inscribe our skin in contemporary tattoo and scarification.

In this interactive session we engage the idea behind the project, fragments of African women's histories already collected, and explore the questions of decolonising tattoo history and tattoo culture, and black/African feminist ethics around documentation of contemporary culture. ''

Jessica Horn is a feminist activist, strategist and writer with roots in Uganda. With a background in medical anthropology her activist work and analysis has focused on feminist body politics. She has worked in women’s rights and philanthropy for two decades (most recently as Director of Programmes at the African Women’s Development Fund) and is active in regional feminist organising including as a founding member of the African Feminist Forum. With a passion for documenting African women’s lives and resistance, Jessica was co-founder and commissioning editor of Our Africa on openDemocracy. She is co-editor of Voice, Power and Soul: Volume I Portraits of African feminists and co-producer of the film interview series Know Your African Feminists -the first documentary series of its size profiling African feminists. Her writing has been published in several platforms including Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Africa is a Country and academic journals Feminist Africa and The Lancet. Jessica is a co-creator of .the temple of her skin.

Laurence Sessou is a bodywork therapist, aromatherapist and an artist muse with roots in Benin. She is a co-creator of .the temple of her skin. Her grandfather was a chief and spiritual healer in Comé, Benin. Both of her grandmothers were initiated high priestesses and dancers in the voodoo tradition. Laurence is founder of Azoouiwa, a platform that champions the work of women activists, healers and creatives. She has broken ground as one of the few black women with tattoos and scarifications in the modelling industry and has been featured in Stylist Magazine, Urban Ink, Things and Ink and on BBC 3’s series on body modifications, as well as on television in France. Laurence is a co-creator of .the temple of her skin.

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