World Body Art Festival in Caracas, Venezuela

Artists used paint, ornaments and glitter to transform the human body into artwork at a festival in Venezuela, showing off designs that ranged from pure fantasy to indigenous myths.


Last weekend’s annual World Meeting of Body Art included body painting, tattoo art, performances and workshops. Fifty-two artists from 18 countries shared their creations at the gathering in Caracas, joining about 2,000 Venezuelans, organizers from the Ministry of Culture said.

Participants had their bodies painted in bright hues from orange to lime green. Vines appeared to wind down the shoulders of one woman, and a man posed as a statue with his skin painted to look like marble.

“The  body  is  a  canvas  with infinite possibilities”, Venezuelan artist Ivan Hernandez Rojas said. “I think it’s fascinating that colors, clothing, makeup, masks, wigs, combs … and accessories allow the human being to change from one identity to another”.

The festival, which began Thursday and ended Sunday, included participants from various Latin American countries as well as others who traveled from the Japan, Luxembourg, Poland, South Africa, Australia, the United States and Austria, among other nations. 

One presentation by Venezuelan David Aranguren and eleven other artists focused on the mythology of the country’s Warao indigenous group, who live in the Orinoco River Delta. Actors’ bodies were painted and adorned with leaves and feathers, and they played parts such as the wind and the “crocodile god”.  The World Meeting of Body Art is in its sixth year. The initiative has been sponsored by Venezuela’s Ministry of Culture and the Chavez government, as a way of exploring and celebrating diverse forms of expression.

 Text by Correo del Orinoco, Jorge Rueda