November 28, 2014

Between the Lines: Facial Tattoos and the Chaouia

Sepia-tinted photos from over 50 years ago show striking facial tattoos of women from indigenous populations in Algeria. But documentation of these women has faded like the aged photographs.

In Algeria today the actual practice of facial tattooing is disappearing along with the older generation. One particular indigenous group losing this cultural marker is the Chaouia of the Aurès Mountains in northeastern Algeria. This project from Pulitzer Center student fellow Yasmin Bendaas captures incredible portraits and stories from Chaouia women and investigates the origins and disappearance of tattooing, especially with the advent of literacy and Islam’s spread.

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