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Decorative Arts Exhibit

Body Art: A Means for Self Expression

African body art uses the human body as a way to express an individual's status, spiritual beliefs, or ethnic affiliation. It can be created on the body itself in the form of tattoos, scarification, body painting, or coiffures. Body art can also be created for wear on the body in the form of garments or jewelry.

African body art changes the wearer into an object shaped by color, movement, textures, patterns and designs.

Sometimes body art can have protective symbolism, created to help a person during dangerous life changes such as movement from childhood to adulthood.

For centuries, the African body fueled many Westerners' prejudices about Africans. The image of "naked savages" long poisoned the relationship between African and Western peoples and lead to many Africans abandoning their own distinct attire in favor of Western dress.

Today many Africans embrace a variety of traditional forms of body adornment, creating a sumptuous visual display and turning each decorated person into a vibrant and unique work of art.

For more information on body art, call Corinne at 239-220-1018.

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