Fakir Musafar
Musafar in 1982
Roland Loomis

(1930-08-10)August 10, 1930
DiedAugust 1, 2018(2018-08-01) (aged 87)
OccupationPerformance artist
WorksBody Play
MovementModern primitive
SpouseCléo Dubois

Roland Loomis (August 10, 1930 – August 1, 2018[1]), known professionally as Fakir Musafar, was an American performance artist considered to be one of the founders of the modern primitive movement.[2][3]


Fakir Musafar

Born Roland Loomis, at age 4, he claimed to have experienced dreams of past lives which, along with his anthropological studies, influenced his interests in body modification.[4][5] He served in the army during the Korean War,[5] and was first married for a short time in the 1960s.[5] In 1966 or 1967, he first performed a flesh hook suspension, inspired by his viewing of anthropological works.[6] In 1977, he gave himself the name Fakir Musafar.[5]

In the 1985 documentary Dances Sacred and Profane, he was shown walking while wearing a device that pressed many small skewers into his upper body, and hanging from a tree by hooks in his chest, in his modified versions of other cultures' sacred ceremonies.[5] He was an extra ('Man in hotel room') in Die Jungfrauen Maschine (The Virgin Machine) in 1988,[7] and in 1991, he appeared in My Father Is Coming as Fakir.[8] He was featured in the 1989 book Modern Primitives,[5] which documented, propagated, and became influential in the modern body modification subcultures.

In 1990, he married Cléo Dubois.[5] From 1992 until 1999, he published the magazine Body Play and Modern Primitives Quarterly,[9][10] which focused on body modification topics such as human branding, suspension, contortionism, binding,[11] and modern piercing culture.[12] He led "Fakir Intensives" training workshops on these topics in San Francisco.[13]

Illness and death

In May 2018, Loomis announced on his website that he was suffering from terminal lung cancer.[14] He died on the morning of 1 August 2018.[15] His death was initially announced in a public Facebook post by his wife Cléo Dubois, and later confirmed by an obituary in Artforum.[1]


The Leather Archives and Museum, founded in 1991,[16] once featured Fakir Musafar in a permanent exhibit.[17][18] In 1993, he received the Steve Maidhof Award for National or International Work from the National Leather Association International.[19] In 2019, he was inducted into the Leather Hall of Fame,[20] and he is also an inductee of the Society of Janus Hall of Fame.[21] UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library and the Association of Professional Piercers also have large archives of his work in photography, published writings, workshops, and BodyPlay magazines. His memorial bench in Byxbee Park in Palo Alto reads "Body is the door to Spirit".


See also


  1. ^ a b "Fakir Musafar (1930–2018)". ArtForum. 2 August 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  2. ^ Gauntlet – decorating the Modern Primitive Archived 2007-05-20 at archive.today
  3. ^ Wilson, Stephen (2002). Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology - Stephen Wilson - Google Books. MIT Press. ISBN 9780262731584. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  4. ^ Voices from the Edge (1997), David Jay Brown & Rebecca McCLen Novick
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Fakir Musafar: passion for piercing, tattooing and corseting". Smh.com.au. 14 August 2018. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  6. ^ Vale, V. and Andrea Juno (1989) Modern Primitives. RE/Search, San Francisco. ISBN 978-0-940642-14-0
  7. ^ "Die Jungfrauen Maschine (1988)". imdb.com. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  8. ^ "My Father Is Coming (1991)". imdb.com/. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  9. ^ "leatherarchives.org". Leather Archive & Museum. Archived from the original on 22 June 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  10. ^ Daniel E. Slotnik (13 August 2018). "Fakir Musafar, Whose 'Body Play' Went to Extremes, Dies at 87 - The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  11. ^ "Bodyplay.com". Body Play Magazine's Website. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  12. ^ Body Play #4, 1992, "The Unique Piercings of Erik Dakota"
  13. ^ Voices from the Edge (1997), David Jay Brown & Rebecca McCLen Novick
  14. ^ "Farewell from Fakir". www.fakir.org. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  15. ^ Slotnik, D. E., "Fakir Musafar, Whose ‘Body Play’ Went to Extremes, Dies at 87", The New York Times, Aug 13, 2018.
  16. ^ "About the LA&M - Leather Archives & Museum". Leatherarchives.org. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  17. ^ "Exhibitions - Leather Archives & Museum". Leatherarchives.org. Archived from the original on 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  18. ^ "Chicago's Leather Museum Is a Love Letter to a Misunderstood Queer Subculture". Them. 2019-10-29. Retrieved 2023-12-13.
  19. ^ "List of winners". NLA International. 2019-03-14. Archived from the original on 2020-01-03. Retrieved 2020-05-08.
  20. ^ "> Inductees". Leatherhalloffame.com. Retrieved 2019-12-31.
  21. ^ "Society of Janus". Erobay. 2019-07-20. Retrieved 2020-04-21.