Hungarian journalist's African tribe project called ignorant and racist
A white Hungarian journalist has attracted the ire of the internet after releasing photos of herself in blackface, where she says she is raising awareness of “secluded cultures”.
In an article on website boredpanda, the journalist, Boglarka Balogh said she travels the world and writes about human rights issues.
Her project was done with the help of graphic designer Csaba Szabo.
The project, she titled 'I Morphed Myself Into Tribal Women To Raise Awareness Of Their Secluded Cultures' shows a natural photo of herself transformed to represent seven different African tribes. Her original photo sits alongside a photo of a woman from the tribe she is copying, as well as her altered photo to represent the tribe.
“My inspiration came from my time spent in various African countries where I became fully aware of the issues regarding a number of endangered tribes, and the speed at which they are fading away. These stunning portraits show how beauty varies across the globe and prove that all of us are beautiful in a different way. They’re celebrating stunning tribal beauties at the brink of extinction,” she wrote.
However, her efforts have been lambasted over the internet, with Daily Life writer Jenny Noyes stating Balogh should have known better than to partake in “blackface”.
Noyes wrote Balogh is more likely “raising awareness to the ongoing ignorance of white people with saviour complexes.”
Noyes said the portraits Balogh copied of the women are already stunning.
“We don't need a white woman blacked up to be able to appreciate their beauty.
“Not to mention that 'appreciating' African tribeswomen for being beautiful, otherworldly objects is just patronising. That's elementary. And doing it with blackface? Just. No.”
In Balogh's boredpanda.com article she wrote a short description of each tribe, but Noyes states she did not go into any depth of the “social or political history that is bringing about changes to their culture that she's described as "extinction" (a word usually used to denote the dying out of a species, not the evolution of culture).
"No evaluation of the role of colonialism, globalisation, capitalism, or environmental changes. Nobody from the tribe itself is quoted. So... human rights and awareness raising?”
Balogh’s project saw her transformed into women from the Himba tribe, who inhabit Northern Namibia and Southern Angola, the Karo tribe from the Omo Valley of South-Western Ethiopia and the Turkana tribe from the Turkana District in Northwest Kenya.
There are also photos of her morphed into women from the Mursi tribe from Ethiopia, the Arbore tribe, also from the Omo Valley, Ethiopia, the Daasanach tribe, an ethnic group of Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan and the Wodaabe tribe, traditionally nomadic cattle-herders and traders in the Sahel Zone, with migrations stretching from Southern Niger, through Northern Nigeria, North-Eastern Cameroon, South-Western Chad, and the Western region of the Central African Republic.
Social media users have also hit out at her about her project.