GUEREWOL FESTIVAL 2019
a 7 day Male Beauty Contest of Wodaabe
Guerewol is an annual courtship ritual competition among the Wodaabe Fula people of Niger. Young men dressed in elaborate ornamentation and made up in traditional face painting gather in lines to dance and sing, vying for the attentions of marriageable young women.
For the 2019 edition, a rebrand on the entire visual identity is done in order to create a more united and immersive experience, as well as gettieng the world to take a glimpse at how Wodaabe functions as a unique culture. The idea of emphasizing on the “pleasure” nature and making it into a tribe was further expanded into a logo mark that resembles a welcoming smile. “dress up, apply make-up, perform to attract a mate, find love, marriage or a single night of passion.” Was the inspiration for the design–to create a 7 day experience carrying no social stigma or moral restriction, to liberate everyone’s soul for a brief moment of break.
In this year's festival, we invite you to open your heart and immerse yourself into the pleasure brought by this festival. Not just to embrace the exotic cultural experience, but also to learn how to be "happy" again. To leave all the burdens behinds and just sing, dance and smile; because after all...that's all it matters.
For the Wodaabe, the week-long Gerewol symbolizes a time for love through a courtship contest where the men beautify and adorn themselves to try and win a lady. A key part of the festival is dance. During the seven-day period, several dance routines takes place with the men standing shoulder to shoulder and moving around slowly a circle. As they go by, eligible women would tap on the shoulder of the ones they are attracted to.
“Ladies, ladies all around, who’s the finest dude in town?”
Every guy wants to win this one and they take time to preen themselves up. Elaborate make-up, painted faces, darkened lips to emphasis their white teeth, eye shadow, plaited hair, bird plumes headgear to emphasize height, beads to show wealth, etc. While they dance before the women, a jury of three who are usually the daughters of past winners, have the task of chosen the most attractive male. At the climax of the Yaake, each of the jury chooses a winner who she takes as her lover – an affair that might last a day, or become a marriage. Guerewol affairs carry no social stigma or moral restriction, so a married man can get picked and end up with a second wife, while sometimes a man may lose his wife to another.
Thank you for viewing and we look forward to seeing you at the festival!