Selk’nam Body Painting

This illustration represents a range of body decorations employed by the now-extinct Selk'nam people of Tierra Del Fuego for their coming-of-age ceremony, called Hain. Adult members of the tribe would be painted and disguised as feared spirits, and over a period of days or weeks would conduct the complex initiation in the snow. Although black and white photographs are the only existing visual documentation of this ornamentation, missionaries described the pigments as black, white, and red.

ink on scratchboard