Jim Naughten


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About the Hereros Series

Each image, a portrait of Herero tribe members of Namibia, reveals a material culture that harkens the region’s tumultuous past: residents wear Victorian era dresses and paramilitary costume as a direct result and documentation of its early 20th century German colonization.

In the European scramble to colonise Africa, Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany claimed one of the least populated and most hostile environments on the planet. It became Deutsche Sudewest-afrika. Though sparsely populated, it was already home to the San, Nama and Herero people. Rhenish missionaries set about converting and clothing them after European fashion. Over time, this became a Herero tradition, and continuing to dress in this manner was a great source of pride to the wearer. Gradually, regional variations in the silhouette emerged; for example, the addition of ‘cow horns’ to headdresses reflects the great importance with which they regard their cattle.

About the Artist

Jim Naughten is an artist living and working in London. His new book, Conflict and Costume, will be published in Spring 2013 by Merrell.

Jim Naughten’s Website

Posted by Carmelita Caruana