The culture surrounding the tattooing tradition among the Chaouia extended beyond marking the body--and into songs. Songs and tattoos often went hand in hand. The famous “Ain El Karma” by Chaoui singer Aissa Djarmouni demonstrates how tattoos were at one time so much a part of Algerian popular culture that they inspired songwriters.

In this video, one elderly tattooed woman named Arjona sings her own rendition of "Ain El Karma," a song that dates to the early 1900s.


Facial tattoos, once popular among Chaouia women in Algeria, are now less prevalent. This project examines their contribution to identity, their symbolic meaning, and reasons for their disappearance.


August 27, 2013 / Untold Stories
Yasmin Bendaas
Yasmin Bendaas' beautiful portraits of tattooed women in Algeria are now available as an e-book.
August 9, 2013 / Al Jazeera
Yasmin Bendaas
The last generation of tattooed women in Algeria is fading, but the tradition lives on in other forms.