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Fakir Musafar

Dances Sacred and Profane

I finally met Fakir at Annie Sprinkle's New York apartment in 1980. The next year Fakir and I worked together on a feature film by Mark and Dan Jury titled Dances Sacred and Profane, in which Fakir not only explains but demonstrates his philosophy and practices. The climax of the film shows Fakir doing the Native American Sun Dance ritual. He performed a preliminary ritual at Devil's Tower in Wyoming--a sensational sacred site. Then Fakir found a remote wooded area, consecrated a cottonwood tree, and suspended himself with flesh-hooks while he left his body and communicated with the Great White Spirit. The footage was awesome, and when the film opened at San Francisco's Roxie Theater in 1985 there were lines around the block. Lots of people were interested in these rituals. --Charles Gatewood, http://www.researchpubs.com/latest/mpex_gatewood.html

Fakir Musafar: Body Art [...]

Fakir Musafar is the publisher of Body Play magazine and unofficial founder of the "Modern Primitives" (a term he coined) body modification movement. Fascinated with Native American, Hindu and Sufi shamanist practices, and was crucial in popularizing piercing, tight-lacing (extreme corsetry) and tattooing, as well as developing responsible methods of branding and scarification.

"Spirit + Flesh"

The road of body modification, piercing, and mutilation is untraveled by most people, yet it holds an undeniable fascination for many. This book, the first monograph devoted to Musafar's photography, chronicles this compelling topic in an amazing collection of 140 photographs taken by Fakir Musafar, widely known as "the father of the modern primitive movement."

Fakir Musafar is known worldwide for his fifty years of research and personal exploration into primitive rituals and body decoration. Fakir has introduced concepts and practices for the "body first" approach to exploring spirituality in art/body modifications. A world-renowned shaman, artist, master piercer, and body modifier, Fakir has played a significant role in the revival of body-related practices for personal expression, spiritual exploration, rites of passage, healing, and reclaiming.

Musafar has devoted most of his life to the personal exploration of body decoration, photographing himself and others since the 1940s. Since the beginning he has steadfastly documented himself and others with the camera, recording the interaction of spirit and flesh during body rituals, modifications, and decorations. The result of this half-century of visual documentation is an amazing compilation of images that underscore not only the peculiar beauty but also the sheer wonderment of body/spirit interplay.

"Spirit + Flesh" reveals a broad array of modern primitive practices, while serving as the first art book dealing with this compelling topic. Fakir's photographs - beautifully composed, well lighted, and expertly printed - reveal a modernist edge. Their power, however, resides in the uncanny and unexpected nature of Fakir's representation. Although numerous books on this subject exist, none to date have brought to light so many truly amazing, intense, and sometimes impossible to believe, images.

Now here are some words directly from Fakir...

Greetings from Fakir Musafar ~~

I can't believe this is really happening. After 50 years of photographing my own body play and the play of friends and lovers, a retrospective collection of these amazing images has just been published by Arena Editions. This new book is titled "Spirit + Flesh." It shows a broad spectrum of experiences: bondage, piercing, tattooing, fetishes, sensory deprivation, body rituals and modifications. If you've ever seen any of my photos (like in "Modern Primitives" or "Body Play") and enjoyed them, this book will fill your cup. The introductory text for "Spirit + Flesh" was written by my friend Mark Thompson, author of "Leatherfolk" and many other books.

"Spirit + Flesh" is a large coffee table art book 8.5" x 11.5" with 196 pages on heavy paper. I am absolutely elated by the impact of the images that are so beautifully woven into the design of this my first real book. They will probably cause quite a stir in the mainstream world.

And for frosting on the cake, I am totally thrilled that one of the world's premiere photo agents will be selling original signed prints from my collection. The first gallery hanging of Fakir fine art photos will be from April 11 to May 18 at the Fahey/Klein Gallery at 148 North La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, California. I will be there in person for book signing and an opening reception the evening of April 11, 7 to 9 pm. If you live in or are visiting the L.A. area (especially attending the LLC Conference), you are invited to attend.

I will also be available for a book signing in the San Francisco area on Tuesday May 14 at the Modern Times bookstore at 888 Valencia (near 20th) from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. Other book signing events, appearances and/or print exhibitions will be announced at a later date. And don't miss Fakir & Cleo on The Learning Channel April 20 & 21! TLC is airing their new program "Human Canvas II" with our interviews and fantastic footage of Fakir's Branding School. Check local listings for program times.

Other good news. I've just seen the final edit of my partner's new video "Tie Me Up!" It is a fantastic mix of bondage, hot SM play and bondage tips. After the success of Cleo's first video "Pain Game" (now being shown at leather events and queer film festivals), I am proud to see this her sequel with an equal measure of reality and emotional intensity. Look for this new video at community outlets and on her website at http://www.cleodubois.com,

Your modern primitive & now artist friend,

Fakir Musafar --http://fetishclub.com/exchange/books.shtml


  1. Fakir Musafar: Spirit + Flesh - Fakir Musafar [Amazon US]
    If you've ever seen Fakir Musafar's photographs in "Modern Primitives", "Body Play" magazine or on television programs, you must get a copy of his coffee table art book. After 50 years photographing his own body play and the play of others, here is a deluxe retrospective collection of amazing images you'll find nowhere else... 296 oversize pages, three pounds worth! This book is a "must have" for all serious body modifiers, tattoo and piercing enthusiasts. A collectors item. --From the Publisher

  2. Re/Search #12: Modern Primitives (1989) - V. Vale (Editor) [Amazon US]
    An anthropological inquiry into a contemporary social enigma--the increasingly popular revival of ancient human decoration practices such as symbolic/deeply personal tattooing, multiple piercings, and scarification. "Primitive" actions which rupture conventional confines of behavior and aesthetics are objectively scrutinized. In context of the death of global frontiers, this volume charts the territory of the last remaining underdeveloped source of first-hand experience: the human body. --From the Back Cover

    MODERN PRIMITIVES #12 Modern Primitives examines a vivid contemporary enigma: the growing revival of highly visual (and sometimes shocking) "primitive" body modification practices-tattooing, multiple piercing, and scarification. Perhaps Nietzsche has an explanation: "One of the things that may drive thinkers to despair is the recognition f the fact that the illogical is necessary for man and that out of the illogical comes much that is good. It is so firmly rooted in the passions, in language,... -- Excerpted from Modern Primitives by V. Vale and Andrea Juno. Copyright 1989. via jahsonic.com

    The New York Times called "Modern Primitives" "the Bible of the underground tattooing and body piercing movement." Crammed with illustrations and information, it's now considered a classic that thoroughly investigates ancient human decoration practices such as tattooing, piercing, scarification and more. --Book Description


  1. My Father is Coming (1991) - Monika Treut [Amazon US]
    Vicky works as a waitress and dreams of stardom, but her hopes are continually dashed by disastrous auditions and an unconquerable German accent. Her world threatens to disintegrate when she learns of the impending visit of her father, lured by stories of his daughter's success in America. Vicky's attempts to dissimulate include concealing her job and inducing gay roommate Ben to pose as her husband. Bavarian sausage-smuggling Hans, Vicky's father, arrives and encounters an exotic subculture of gender-benders, fakirs (Fakir Musafar), and, most of all, ex-porn queen Annie Sprinkle (playing herself), leading to discovery and adventure for both father and daughter. More on Monika Treut

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