Riji - Body Paint
This is a design painted on men's bodies during ceremony. It shows the direction of the three winds from the Sunday Island area: north, south and west.
The Riji shell is what the young men wear after they have gone through a number of different stages of initiation. It is the third last stage of the initiation of a young man. A young man who has been through the law ceremony has a hair belt and pearl shell put on him. He then waits about two or three years for the next stage when he is painted with red. After the red paint stage the boy is now a man and is allowed to be with his promised wife. The whole initiation process from boyhood to manhood takes about 8 to 10 years.
Courtesy of Short Street Gallery