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Mãe Africa Development Initiative presents ‘SCARRED’, an impressive exhibition documenting varying ethnic groups across Africa and their respective displays of cultural identity through body art.

Previewing on November 29 2019, the exhibition will be opened to the public from November 30 to December 1, and will showcase over 30 photographs from internationally acclaimed visual artists, Trevor Cole, Eric Lafforgue and dynamic talents including Nadine Ibrahim, Yusuff Aina, Anibal Bueno and Hannah Longole.

Body modification including scarification, tattooing, body piercings and painting are amongst the oldest visual cultural expressions across Africa. ‘SCARRED’ aims to inform and raise awareness around these ancient cultural expressions, some of which are still in existence yet slowly vanishing. Proudly supported by the British Council, the artworks in the exhibition directly raise socio-cultural questions around Africa’s body modification tradition and its relation to identity and origin for Africans and the diaspora.


Trevor Cole and Eric Lafforgue are award-winning photographers whose works focus predominantly on culture and landscapes. Having travelled extensively across the world, their visual stories strongly highlight cultural diversity which offers a positive narrative as well as an alternative gaze of the places they visit. Cole and Lafforgue are published and have been featured in several publications including the National Geographic.

Nadine Ibrahim is a compelling visual storyteller whose work explores various social issues in Nigeria society. An award-winning filmmaker, her works include ‘Through Her Eyes’ which tells the story of a young northern girl affected by terrorism in Nigeria. Previewing at ‘SCARRED’, her latest production ‘Marked’ is a documentary exploring Nigeria’s different cultures and their reasons behind scarification.

Yusuff Aina is a Nigerian multidisciplinary artist who works using a medium called ‘Ainaism’. Derived from Aina, a Yoruba name given to a child born with the umbilical cord wrapped around the neck — this technique of creative lines, patterns and symbols illustrate the pressures a child faces in the womb, the freedom at birth and the journey through life.

Anibal Bueno is a travel photographer whose interest in anthropology inspires his documentation of cultures across the world and their different forms of cultural expressions, including body painting, tattoos, scarifications and dilatations.

Hannah Longole is a reputed Ugandan photographer, videographer and broadcast journalist. Founder of the ‘Ateker Cultural Center’ (ACC), her photography and videography documents, promotes and celebrates Pastoralist traditional values and cultures.

Taking place across the entire Unit 6 gallery space, ‘SCARRED’ extends beyond exhibited works with other engaging activities as part of its programme, including a screening. Concerned about the stigma inflicted upon those involuntarily scarred, guests will learn about the experiences of the bearers of tribal markings through a short documentary featuring specialist interviews.

In a conversation with selected guests with a direct connection to scarification, the exhibition will also explore perspectives on the use of skin as a canvas to convey information about identity, affiliation, personal history, lineage, status, spirituality, aesthetic choices, scarification and the Uli body painting art. Speakers include:

● Dr. Chuu Kryzd Ikwuemesi: Nigerian Painter, Art Critic, Ethno-aesthetician and Professor
● Laurence Sessou: UK-based Neuromuscular Therapist and Muse from the Republic of Benin
● Dr. Toyin Ajao: Nigerian Activist and Scholar
● Anyango Mpinga: Eco fashion and textile designer
● Ryan Ouellette: Globally recognised Scarification Practitioner

Performing at the exhibition’s preview on November 29 is British-Nigerian jazz-soul singer and songwriter, Bumi Thomas whose sound is inspired by her multicultural lineage. It is a wonderful combination of jazz, high life rhythms, Afro-beat, reggae, blues melodies, infused with folk and delivered with soul.

Temi Fet’era, founder of Mãe Africa and curator of ‘SCARRED’ said: “’SCARRED' will provide a platform to emphasize the importance of the bearer's assent in any form of body art expression. Conversations will explore the ways that confidence in cultural identity inspires some adults to bear traditional markings by choice rather than forcefully and mandatorily, which can open doors to issues including stigma, discrimination and low self esteem.”

"We are thankful to the British Council for believing in our mission and being our event's first official supporter. Through their mobility support, we are able to fund two participating Nigerians visual artists to the 'SCARRED' exhibition – connecting their dynamic and amazing work to a UK network and a global audience."

‘SCARRED’ is organised by the Mãe Africa Development Initiative – a non-profit cultural enterprise with a mission to preserve Africa’s history and cultural heritage and support its social and economic development through the creative industries.


Information including artists bio, listing details and photos can be accessed here

For further press information and photography, please contact Deborah Marie at or on +44 (0) 7784 905109‬



Mãe Africa Development Initiative
The name “Mãe Africa” is a play on words inspired by the Afro-Brazilian diaspora. Mãe is Portuguese for mother but pronounced “My”. Thus, “Mother Africa”.

Mãe Africa is a non-profit cultural enterprise showcasing the diversity of African cultural landscape and history mainly through art. Its objectives are broadly centered on African development with explicit focus on the conservation, safeguarding and promotion of heritage and cultural expressions in all their forms. Mãe Africa was conceptualised by Temi Fet’era in 2006 and formally incorporated in Nigeria in February, 2014 and becomes operational in 2019 with its first-ever event in London — an exhibition titled ‘SCARRED’.

Temi Fet’era
Temi is the founder of Mãe Africa. She holds a Master of Arts in African Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Her cultural research interest has led her to several countries across the span of five continents – including extensive time spent on the field in Australia Cuba, Japan, Peru, Serbia and Turkey. Mãe Africa nurtures Temi’s continued interest in African Studies, particularly cultural heritage and history. 

Listings Information: ‘SCARRED’|Revisiting the Body Art Tradition in Africa

November 29 to December 1, 2019

Unit 6 Gallery 6a Langley St,
Covent Garden, WC2H 9JA

● Entry: Free
● Guestlist enquiries:
● Event Registration:

Exhibition opening times:
6.30pm – 11pm, November 29 (Preview by invite only)
11am – 8pm, November 30
11am – 7pm, December 01

● Twitter: @MaeAfricaOrg
● Instagram: @MaeAfricaOrg
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