Thanks to Nancy Allison who brought my attention to this show on until the end of April:
Ten years ago, German photographer Jens Uwe Parkitny took his first photograph of a dying traditon. It was his third trip to Myanmar, and he was touring a small village in Chin state, taking it easy before the next day’s planned climb of the 3100-meter Mt. Victoria. He never got there.
Instead, a Chin woman came over to sell him a trinket, and the sight of her face changed his life. “On that day it became clear to me that I had found my photographic theme and I put myself on a mission: to photograph the last Chin women with facial tattoos in Myanmar,” said Parkitny recently.
Parkitny has traveled back to Myanmar many times since then, seeking out remote villages and the women who are becoming scarcer as the years go by. While tattooing in our culture is mainly the province of the young, the women in Parkitny’s photographs are mostly over 50. As western notions of beauty creep in, the practice is dying out, although Parkitny believes that in very remote areas it might still be prevalent. It’s something he’s dedicated his life to finding out.
In March, 2011, 25 of Parkitny’s portraits appeared at the Yangon Photo Festival, on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. In Munich’s Museum of Ethnology, 15 images from the series will be on display until the end of April 2011. Parkitny has also written a book, available through his website, on the Chin women and the tradition of face tattooing.