Slingsby travelled to a remote region in Ethiopia for the inspiration behind his large-scale portraits depicting tribespeople who have lived according to ancient traditions since 7500 BC. The area is so war-torn that he had to travel with soldiers in tow. It is with this fearlessness that Slingsby confronts his subject matter.
Slingsby tells me that what he is doing with his work is documenting art - the art of the tribespeople.
What is so striking about the portraits is how he has depicted the way the subjects adorn themselves - with body paint culled from the earth as well as through the controversial practise of body mutilation - many of the portraits show women with discs pierced through their lips.
Slingsby has captured this all in brilliant detail. He uses subdued tones but for intermittent striking splashes of colour. It took him 18 months to complete the collection with each piece taking him three weeks. Indeed, it has been said that he captures the soul of his subjects.
The Barnard Gallery is the perfect space to showcase this work and it is Slingsby's third exhibition there. I really enjoyed the behind-the-scene video footage one could watch in a room leading off from the main gallery.
It's important to note that in documenting the art of the tribespeople Slingsby raises a myriad number of questions. The effects of urbanisation - one portarait shows a warrior woman holding a modern gun is just one of them. I highly recommend that you go see this exhibition for yourself. It runs until March 13.
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