Friday, November 23, 2012

Piers Calvert: Amazonian Body Paint

Photo © Piers Calvert-All Rights Reserved

"To realise the project I travelled solo with 45 kilos of camera equipment. All photos are shot on location with natural light."

Piers Calvert visited a photo exhibition in Bogota, Colombia, where he saw a photo of girls from the Okaina tribe wearing body paint, taken by an explorer in 1908. The beauty of this art form inspired Piers,  and he found the Okaina had long stopped the practice, and that the tribe was nearly extinct.

Nevertheless, Piers set out to learn if body-painting still existed in Colombia at all, and if so, if he could document it. His research revealed that Colombia has over 100 different indigenous tribes, but not all of them practice (or practiced) body-painting.

Piers' message to the indigenous tribes he visited was that their culture was disappearing, and offering a chance to record some of it. Most communities weren’t interested, but some of them were and allowed him to record their practices.

Most of the body paint is made using "jagua". This is a tropical fruit whose juice is used for traditional body art. It's painted (or rather stained) on the skin making elaborate designs, and only lasts for a few weeks, similar to henna.

The Way We Are Now is the Piers Calvert photographs of these indigenous tribes.

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