Farewell to Fakir Musafar: Shaman, Artist, Master Piercer & Body Modifier

If you have any sort of body piercing or tattoo, you should probably know that you owe a debt of gratitude to Fakir Musafar, who sadly passed away a few days ago (August 1, 2018).

Fakir Musafar – born Roland Loomis – was an American performance artist, considered to be the founding father of the “modern primitive” movement.

He was born in 1930 on an Indian Reservation in Aberdeen (South Dakota). He studied electrical engineering at the Northern State University, and Creative Writing at the San Francisco State University. For many years he held executive positions in San Francisco advertising agencies and operated his own Ad agency in Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, he was privately researching on indigenous rituals and body art for personal expression and spiritual exploration.

He reported having given himself his first body piercing when he was twelve. By 1967, he was performing the first of many suspension rituals, and in 1979 he performed at the first International Tattoo Convention in Reno, Nevada.

Fakir as The Perfect Gentleman, 1959
Fakir as The Perfect Gentleman, 1959

He is now known worldwide for his fifty year’s research and personal exploration of primitive body decoration and rituals. During all his life he experimented with body modification techniques such as body piercing, tightlacing, scarification, tattooing, and flesh hook suspension.

His writing and photography was published in many anthologies, magazines, and scholarly works. He lectured and performed at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (Rapture Series, 1995); Copenhagen’s International Seminar on BODY: Ritual-Manipulation (1995), and Lisbon Portugal’s Festival Atlantico (1997).

Musafar was featured in “Modern Primitives”, published by RE/Search, and in the full-length documentary “Dances Sacred and Profane”. He also appears in the movie “Modify” and Charles Gatewood’s documentary, “Dances Sacred and Profane”.

He was the founder and director of the Fakir Intensives – training workshops on body piercing and branding in San Francisco (the first in America). His photographic art was recently exhibited at the Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles.

Fakir_Musafar via Wikipedia
Fakir_Musafar via Wikipedia

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