“Painted Souls” is the result of an ongoing passion for exploring alternative cultures and traditions, where the subjects are photographed against a plain background in order to capture the full vibrancy of their traditional dress and showcasing their artistic skills in the area of beautification.
People photographed belong to Surma tribe that resides on the border between Ethiopia and South Sudan and one can claim that Surma are one of the most iconic tribes in Ethiopia. They remain isolated, untouched by foreigners due to the location, lack of amenities and due to tribal conflicts. What makes them so iconic it is their imagination and artistic skills when it comes to beautification, decorating and being fashionable in their own way.
The Surma tribe use their bodies as a canvas, adorning themselves with pigment gleaned from powdered volcanic rock and natural materials such as flowers, leaves and grasses – as well as animal horns and shells – to create an aesthetic which is at once distinctive and endlessly inventive.
I want to encourage the viewer to look beyond the poverty of many of the areas I travel to and seek to provide a window on a world which is rarely seen or talked about. My work is constantly striving to empower all of us to see the beauty in our difference and diversity – to show that each of us is unique, and this is to be embraced and celebrated. With this portfolio I want to honour the beauty of the Surma people, to reveal their strengths and their pride.
About Biljana Jurukovsk
Biljana Jurukovski (43) is a Macedonian Australian Award Winning Photographer who has always been inspired and amazed by the diverse and beautiful expressions of different cultures. Biljana’s portraits are a culmination of her passion, love and respect for other cultures and traditions; they depict a graceful world where strength and pride are engraved on the faces of the people photographed. Biljana consider herself as explorer and adventurer with a great passion for photography. Her aim is through photography to create discussions about different cultures, their way of living and accepting life challenges. Biljana sees photography as a medium for communication between people. She has travelled in many countries on five continents through some of the most remote areas and has faced very challenging situations in the quest to photograph lives of tribal people. [Official Website]