What is Body Art? Art: used extensively as a medium of communicating thoughts, feeling, and experiences to convey a deeper meaning. Body art is one
What is Body Art?
Art: used extensively as a medium of communicating thoughts, feeling, and experiences to convey a deeper meaning. Body art is one of the earliest forms of art expression created through modifications done on the human body. Body art symbolized different beliefs of a person based upon religion or sentiments and personal expression. It is the sub-category of performance art where artists abuse their bodies to create a statement. Body perceived as a subject of much broader discretion creates a vivid scope for body art. The most popular and common forms of body art are tattoos, piercings, and body painting often created to commemorate an important event.
Traditional Body Art
In many traditions, Body Art was an integral part of the culture and religion to indicate status, religious devotion, desired protection against evil and disease, and much more. Several tribes practiced tattooing and developed their unique inks and techniques of tattooing. In the early days, piercing was not carried out to show off social status; instead, it was a religious or tribal practice that was carried out with a specific intention. Scarring and branding were also extensively popular. Similarly, head shaping, neck elongation, teeth blackening, and often regarded as standards of beauty. E.g. – Method of Tapping used for tattooing,
Types of Body Art
There are many different types of body art but broadly, they can be classified under permanent and temporary. Permanent tattooing, body piercings, scarification, breading, branding, cosmetic surgeries, etc. are some forms of permanent body art. Temporary tattooing using henna, body paint, stickers, and tanning, etc. are a few forms of temporary body art.
- Permanent Tattooing – The word tattoo was originated from the Polynesian word ‘ta’, which means ‘to strike’. This means injecting pigments via pricking the top layer of the skin. This process is painful and the tattoo artist uses a machine gun to create patterns on the skin. The traditional methods of tattooing involve a similar process but instead use a needle along with naturally procured ink. Permanent Makeup is also a part of permanent tattooing which can last up to several years.
- Temporary Tattooing – Majorly uses stickers and henna are used to create a temporary tattoo that eventually fades after a certain time. A paste made from henna leaves or henna powder is applied and left to dry and then removed to develop color. Gradually the color changes from orange to brown and black. Eventually, it fades out. Body painting can also be categorized under this but here the paint does not comprehend to stay for long duration.
- Body Piercing – People go for piercing in different body parts, most commonly, nose, ear, and lips. Ear piercing is an all-time trend in the market. Traditionally body piercings were limited to ears, tongues, and lips. Now, with advancements in the piercing industry, piercings can be placed virtually anywhere. Presently, there are over 15 ways of ear piercing styles available.
- Body Pearling or Beading – Small beads or marbles of various materials are inserted beneath the skin into parts of the body surgically. These are most common in genital areas as a form of genital modification or mutilation.
- Body shaping- Different parts of the body undergo extreme pressure for a long period starting from early childhood. Sometimes people go beyond the limit to change the natural body shape. Skull shaping, neck elongation, suspension, waist/corset training, etc. are some of the examples of body shaping. In more extreme and immense cases foreign objects were implanted under the skin, e.g., inserting metal spikes into the skull.
- Aesthetic Dentistry- Gold, silver, or porcelain caps are placed over a tooth or as a replacement. In addition to this, a hole is drilled into a tooth and implanting a jewel into the hole, and filing teeth to a point to create the illusion of a fang.
- Cosmetic Surgery – This comprises of any type of surgical body modification often to enhance appearance. Implants and plastic surgeries like lip fillers, nose job, face uplift, breast enhancement, buttock implants, tummy tucks, nose reductions, lip injections, liposuction, Botox, etc. are some examples of this.
- Tanning- This is a very recent type of body art that is developed by purposefully creating tan lines as an art expression. The person tends to stay under the sun until his or her skin gets burned.
Health Hazards of Body Art
Although there are many health hazards related to body art practices especially if these are not done properly. Unhygienic and unethical practices may lead to even potential dangers to life. Several intense health hazards are associated with most of the typologies of body art that are as follows:
- Rejection (where the body pushes a piercing out)
- Embedding (where the skin grows over the piercing)
- Nerve damage
- Excessive bleedin
- Bacterial infections
- Bloodborne viruses
- Physical discomfort
- Obstruct basic body functions
- Restrict body growth
- Deforming body
However there a few benefits as well associated with piercings those are as follows:
Benefits of Nose Piercing
- According to some trusted sources, piercing the nose at a specific point reduces the menstrual pain experienced by women.
- Ever wondered why is the left nostril pierced always? The nerves present in the left nostril are connected to the female reproductive organs, so piercing the nose from that point eases childbirth.
- Nose piercing is easier to handle and heals sooner than other types of piercing. It does not have infectious consequences.
Benefits of Ear Piercing
- The nerves present in the earlobe are connected to the brain. Piercing at that point triggers the faster development of the brain, especially in kids. It encourages good brain development.
- Piercing the earlobe enhances eyesight and accuracy of hearing. It is said that if ear piercing is done at an early stage, problems related to eyes, tongue, throat, and ears can be minimized to a greater extent.
- Ear piercing done by an experienced professional gets healed within a few days.
The notion of an ideal body image always created insecurity among people and body art helps aid that insecurity in many individuals. All these might look bizarre to many people whereas some view it as art and a latest fashion trend. Beauty standards need to be redefined and should not be subjected to mere judgments or beliefs. Body acceptance is a big achievement some accept it naturally and some through body art. Ultimately self-love and self-acceptance are more important.
Reference source: https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Body-art