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(Argenne - Shangama - Ubamer)

The A'ari is a people of the South, living in the Jinka highlands. In this region they are the culturally and economically dominant group. Their language is Omotic. They live in tribes with a clan structure - these tribes used to live independently from one another until 1897, when they were conquered by Ethiopian empire.

The three largest tribes are the Argenne, the Shangama, and the Ubamer. The economic system is based on farming, on small farms with crops like coffee, wheats, and various root crops.

Walking through the green mountains of Ari in southern Ethiopia one would recognize that some of the attractive grass-roofed houses of the Ari people are decorated with beautiful wall-paintings in natural colours. In Ari, painting is done by women. Women plaster the walls of their houses with mud and renew the walls and floors of their houses regularly. The word for wall-paintings in Ari is bartsi what means "giving beauty" and the paintings are done by women who are skilled. As Sambetti Galshi expressed it "men just farm the whole day, that's why they don't know how to paint.


The women who decorate their houses, all have their own personal style of painting; they paint not only different patterns and motifs, but they also use different materials and colours. The motifs and patterns will be explained with each individual painting. For painting, the women use their fingers, hen feathers and sticks of yams plants. The colours found on houses are made out of ground charcoal, battery acid,ash,light soil,red soil,cow dung and water.

 

Culture

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