Body painting history

Body painting is the most artistic form of makeup. The painting merges with the human body, resulting in a moving work of art. A great dedication to the work and a good knowledge of the techniques and materials by the artists who perform the work are required. Painting on a nude or semi-nude body is a way of transmitting a message and turning it into a living work of art.

But until today, body painting has evolved since it was one of the first forms of expression used by man. I will tell you how that evolution has been throughout history.

the beginning

In prehistory, man discovered that colored earth, chalk, the blood of animals or coal, could be used to decorate his body, to identify his tribe, to intimidate the enemy, to hunt or for good in different rites. There are societies that remain faithful to some customs that they used in antiquity, especially face painting.

Body painting in traditional societies

In ancient times, tribes applied body paint with the help of clay or charcoal. They especially used it in ceremonies that were performed in Austria, the Pacific Islands, the Nuba hills or in Africa, where it continues to be a deeply rooted custom in many tribes that live far from civilization.

Chilean ancestral culture has one of the clearest references; the dead were painted blue and reddish.

The towns of Kau, Nyaro and Fungor perform a body and face painting art of a high standard. The paintings are made not only by the experts of the tribe, but by all men from seventeen to thirty years of age. The meaning of painting their bodies in different ways becomes a kind of brand that identifies each age group.

Some indigenous peoples of South America use huito (something similar to henna ) and charcoal to decorate their bodies, and with which they express a meaning depending on the shape of the drawings or symbols .

Women in India or the Maghreb continue to apply body paint such as henna in religious celebrations. Henna decor colors the skin in shades ranging from orange to black. Black henna has chemical additives that often cause allergies.

Body painting today

In western society, body painting or body painting is used as fun and merely decorative motifs at carnivals, parties, conventions, or even fashion shows. In dance clubs, stage dancers and even patrons often use a fluorescent paint that glows with UV light.

The success of a good job with body painting allows the naked body to be exhibited without appreciating the areas. There are many people susceptible to contemplate another naked body, however when they see a painted body that shows decorations so real and well done, they hardly notice that this person only has tincture on his body and little else.

The only drawback of body painting —especially for the artist who performs it—, is that it is an art that lasts very little in the body. The only way to immortalize that work of art is through visual means: videos or photography.

The World Body Painting Festival is held annually. It is the most important in the world and has become a mecca for body painting. The event lasts for a week, and in the first four days it consists of creating special workshops and learning classes. The last three days is dedicated to the competition of artists in different categories. A whole show of colors that adults and children can attend.


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