Facial Identification, the ornamental facial scarification

Sonja Simić-Townsend
August 20th - 26th, 2009


Project Facial Identity explores and illustrates the ornamental facial scarification, which is still a practice (if a dying one) in the remote archipelago of the South Pacific – the Solomon Islands. The project imposed itself in the period between September 2004 and October 2005. The author spent a year in the Solomons where she came across this type of facial scarification – for the first time. The facial ‘writings’, as the local population calls them, are before everything marks of identity – of family and tribe.

It is believed that they first came about while the region was affected by constant ethnic disputes. At the time cannibalism was also a living practice in these areas. Similar facial morphology of the peoples in the region was yet another factor that made it necessary for some form of instant identification to exist.

Different sensibilities of viewers might find this multifaceted project, with its aesthetic, sociological and anthropological aspects, very appealing.