The Living Legends of Sholoukhشلوخ الأساطير: Facial Scarification in Sudan
MFA in Design
Sholoukh—ritual face scarring—is a dying art form in Sudan. Used to distinguish members of one tribe from another, sholoukh reflects the tribal pride of an individual. In the past, sholoukh was seen as important as having a passport for a tribe member, however, it was not always applied by choice. Using just a razor blade, the wisest, most senior tribal elder would scar the face of a child, initiating them into the tribe for life.
As this tribal art form fades away, the dwindling sholoukh-bearers have become living legends in Sudan. To honor them, I create a collage of images of these beautifully scarred individuals. To celebrate sholoukh and its symbols while giving choice back to the individual, I create a set of facial tools that allow someone to experience the beauty of sholoukh either temporarily or permanently, preserving this Sudanese cultural treasure and reviving it for future generations, celebrating the diversity that Sudan represents.