On the evening of Thursday, August 4, I headed along the damp streets of Auckland’s CBD heading towards Lorne Street’s ThisThat Cafe & Gallery. As soon as I walked in the door the warmth and beauty of Guy Needham’s latest exhibition, The Hamar of Ethiopia, spirited me away from the cold Auckland weather and took me to the Lower Valley of the Omo, where one of Africa’s last traditional tribes, the Hamar, lives.
The composition of the Hamar people having their portrait taken against brightly coloured walls and doors made for striking images that have stayed with me since I left the exhibition — in fact, one of the postcards featuring the image Hamar Purple, 2015 is currently being carried around with me at all times as my bookmark so I can relive the exhibition every day.
As a bit of background for you, Needham spent time in Ethiopia’s Lower Valley of the Omo with a non-governmental organization. During his time he photographed and documented the Hamar lifestyle, the result of which you can experience for yourself at the exhibition, which will be open until August 31. Needham’s portraits capture the essence of the Hamar tribe — there’s no forced posing, you don’t get a sense of discomfort in front of the camera. What I was left with was a feeling of meeting people from a tribe where they are living their everyday life, staying true to their traditions and culture — it was beautiful.
Experience The Hamar of Ethiopia exhibition for yourself at ThisThat Cafe & Gallery in Auckland — the exhibition is on until August 31.