Contemporary branding and cutting

The process of scarification involves an endurance of pain. This endurance often signifies a rite of passage and is a ritual which is itself highly significant. M Eliade in Encyclopedia of Religion (1987) summarises: Scarification is the operation of marking with scars, Cicatrization is the subsequent formation of a scar at the site of a healing wound - the healing process. The deliberate formation of keloids, sharply elevated, often round or oval scars due to the rich production of collagen in the dermal layer. These terms are often used interchangeably.


My body adornments are about my inner spirit, love, trust, truth, strength and beauty, which in turn makes up my outward spirit, enabling me to be the strong, brave, loving woman I am.


Body modification can be viewed as a topographical map of a person's emotional and spiritual history. Your whole body can be used to prevent yourself from ever forgetting your mistakes and victories. Each time you look in a mirror, you give yourself the positive reinforcement you have designed for yourself.

Andrew Geyl

Brand power - feel the heat


For other people, skin is a barrier that's not meant to be permeated. This has taken on more significance with HIV and other blood-born diseases. It's very intimate penetrating someone's skin. The person is putting their safety in your hands. That level of trust is a gift and the scar is a lasting mark of that.

Lawless, Researcher & Community Worker, 36

Cutting is my release - the scars becoming more organised and much less of a by-product. The cuts are more personal than tattoos. A trusted person made the cuts and my body created the scars. To me, it was important to have that level of trust, so my mind and body were accepting. The scars take on a very tribal significance even though that wasn't the original conscious decision. Most of the reasons still remain personal and therefore hidden.

Will, Sculptor, 27


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