The Spiritual Path in Body Art
Anthropological and Psychological aspects of Spirituality in Body Art
Only when grounded within our physical form we hope to see beyond the bounds of ego, and for this purpose Arts can make the transcendent and mystical manifest; indeed, Creativity can be a vehicle for connection with the Creator/Source and with other humans. The creative mind of an artist or spiritual seeker participates intimately in the world they observe, and it serves to understand the nature and function of Reality as a whole. If the impulse to create art is one of the defining signs of humanity, the body may well have been the first canvas. Alongside paintings on cave walls created by early humans over 30,000 years ago, there are handprints and ochre deposits suggesting body painting, some of the earliest mummies from the Italian-Austrian Alps, known as Ötzi, and others from central Asia, the Andes, Egypt and Europe-date back to 5000 years bring tattoos and ornaments. People were buried with ornaments that would have been worn through body piercings while others show intentionally elongated or flattened skulls. Head shaping in fact was practiced 5000 years ago in Chile and until the 18th Century in France.
Because body art is such an obvious way of signaling cultural differences, people often use it to identify, exoticize or ostracize others; these modifications convey information about a person’s identity. Body art is always changing, and in some form or another always engaging it allows people to reinvent themselves- to rebel, to follow or create fashion, or to experiment with new identities. Like performance artists and actors, people in everyday life use body art to cross boundaries of gender, national identity, and cultural stereotypes. But Body art is a visual language. To understand it one needs to know the vocabulary, including the shared symbols, myths, and social values that are written on the body. For a meaningful journey the inquiry has to be into the body and through the body, not outside of it. The cause and effect of much of our tension today is the indulgence of mind. When we speak about reality, attempting to reveal its mystery, we inevitably speak in contradictions. The role of a creative mind is to perceive the realms of reality that contradict the gushing force of everyday reality. Spirituality is a Dimension of our Reality, so creating art can be prayer, ritual, and remembrance of the Divine, and the sharing of this creativity will create a can serve as symbolic space for several identities.
Slot: 15 / Room 16 – Sun. 9am-10:30pm