Body art is the most widely practiced art, with it being seen in almost every culture today. The extremities people, past and present, have gone through to express themselves, can still amaze and shock even in today’s more liberal world.
The most common body arts seen in Britain today are piercing and tattooing. These more mild forms of the craze are usually used to express persons’ personality, individuality or life experiences. More and more people are choosing to have this art work done because it has become more readily available in the 21st century. Of course, even in Britain, we see more outrageous forms of body art such as subdermal implants, also known as body modification.
In other cultures body art is not only a personal preference but a widely practiced tradition. Mehndi tattoos or Henna as they are more commonly known, are typically applied to the bride’s hands and feet before her wedding ceremony in most parts of Pakistan and India, this is thought to ‘awaken the inner light’, and in Africa, many tribes are often seen to have lip discs. It is not fully understood why these are worn or what the size of these discs indicates, but most believe a fresh lip disc is a sign of nearing marriage.
The words ‘body art’ cover a very large spectrum and almost any expressive action today, as long as the human body is involved, can be considered body art, from dance to scarification. There will always be new ways for cultures and individuals alike to express themselves, these fascinating and shocking ways of showing opinion, emotion and tradition have been around for thousands of years and will be for years to come.