The traditional knowledge of what colors, shapes, or designs of different South Sudanese traditional attires or beads symbolize is rapidly disappearing. Partly, this is due to the passing of elders, urbanization, migration, insecurity, and lack of respect for traditional knowledge as a knowledge system in the current education system, amongst other factors.
One of South Sudan’s core unifying dynamism is the culture and conventional attire. The attires represent the culture or identity of ethnic groups, gender, age, or marital status. Spoken languages and fashion frequently and prominently reflect cultural and social representations. These traditional attires include a variety of garments, jewelry, and beaded accessories that have historical roots and are essential to South Sudanese identities.
#ThisIsUs is a visual and written digital curation that highlights some South Sudanese cultural wears. After eleven years of independence from Sudan and ten years of internal instability, the curation aims to initiate knowledge sharing and provide insights and understanding of what different attires symbolize for diverse communities. Additionally, the curation seeks to create conversations on how cultural dressings influence perception in the past and present. Beaded accessories, for instance, are purposefully color-coded to indicate one’s age group or status, cultural beliefs, and expressions. Presently, beaded accessories are worn as a fashion statement, especially by the youth. Despite not always conveying the intended historical values, they serve as a representation of diversity and beauty. This series will provide an understanding of roots that shape our identities and respect traditional positive values while allowing the worldwide transition to a new society by connecting the past, present, and future.
For this round of curation, the series featured 16 photographs of various traditional attires to remind us that there is beauty and strength in diversity.
Ayor Dhuor, Achol Gai, Gloria Lifu, Sandra Adhieu, Lilly Joan, Asano, Jacky Aparo, Agau Bul, Katkuta Margaret, Aluel Gai, Hellen Hivita, Manuela Modong, Susan Samson, Mama Ropani, Mama Achol, Mama Owe