The Suri people are part of the famous Surma tribe, known for the lip disks.
During the slave trade, the Surma started using the lip disks to disfigure themselves so that the Arab slave traders would not take them away. Over time, the practise became a sign of beauty and hence it remaining in their culture. The valley is really hot and so clothing is really optional. so instead of beautifying themselves with the latest fashion brands, the children especially, beautify themselves with clay and chalk paintings which they apply at the riverside. This is their fashion statement, their independence and also their expression to others.
The Suri are found on the western edge of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia, about 20km from the Sudanese border.
Photographs by: Shem Compion