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Body art festival in celebrations of playful Eros in Odesa


In early May this year, after long weeks of Lent, Odesa seemed to let go and make up for the lost time in entertainment. The 4th International Body Art Festival heralded the coming of the much-awaited tourist season.


Devolanivsky Uzviz was the venue of the rather frivolous festival which attracted 25 thousand spectators and journalists who enjoyed a colourful show of young bodies that offered themselves to be turned into living, and walking, and posing objets dart. 106 artists from 16 cities of Ukraine and from several countries of the former Soviet Union decorated 324 beautiful models with bold and polychromatic designs, employing their imagination to the full. The human body is not a canvas and, on the one hand, imposes certain limitations upon the artist who paints his or her picture on it, but on the other, offers three-dimensional possibilities, which a flat canvas cannot provide. To give the body-art artists a general direction to follow, a motto was devised  The Whole World is the Theatre.

Makeshift stages were erected all along Devolanivsky Uzviz, some of which looked like exotic ships and boats. The models, after the artists were done with them, posed on the stages for the milling crowds to assess the artwork and to stare at the almost complete female nudity. When all the pictures were completed, the canvases froze in a tableau vivant that stretched for 354 meters. 1,160 feet of painted beautiful bodies! In another curious arrangement, 26 painted models formed a living puzzle, which then broke apart for the spectators to put it together again.

The festival was organized by the Passazh advertisement agency with a dozen other partners. The festival could be definitely qualified as a success. Some of the spectators tried themselves as artists; others thought they would not look too bad as models and abandoned themselves to the joy of being painted on.

Later in the evening of the same day, May 2, the best of the best models put on a fiery show, Brazilian Carnival, at the night club Amsterdam. The perfect bodies, whose beauty was greatly enhanced by the art they wore and the scanty dresses they had on, designed to emphasize the grace of the nakedness, and the heady samba rhythms, all combined to create an exciting spectacle which left neither the guests nor the jury indifferent. The Grand Prix of the Body Art Festival went to Andriy Leonov, an artist from the city of Dnipropetrovsk  he did deserve it.

The members of the jury must have had a hard time to remain impartial and objective. There were prizes to be given in 24 nominations  Most Highly Emotional Subject; Most Harmonious Composition; Most Original Idea; Miss Extravagancy; Miss Exotica; Little Fairy, to name just a few. The Miss Ideal Bust Contest, held within the framework of the festival, generated a lot of excitement among the refined connoisseurs of female beauty. All shapes and sizes were represented. They were even grouped together in separate shows  grapefruit-shaped breasts, pine-apple shaped, lemon-shaped, water-drop shaped, flower-bud shaped, and even Champaign-glass shaped It was charmant! Quite charming!

All those who came to watch or participate in the festival felt they were prize-winners. Yes, it was basically an erotic festival but in good taste and in good humour, highly enjoyable, without any sanctimonious attempts to hide the true nature of it.

Odesa is already looking forward to the next years International Body Art Festival.


Based on a report by Oleksiy ONISHCHUK

Photographs by the author















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