Beyond The Paint

We've been following artist Andy Golub documenting a number of his events for a couple of years now, and while each one has had a different "flavor," they've all had a similar consistent underlying theme that pertains to the human experience. There are naked bodies and there is a lot of paint. But more importantly, there is freedom. While the world reels with so much negativity, judgment and struggle in this life and times, these events are an oasis of peace and acceptance.

Brussels Bodypainting Day began in a similar way, albeit with an international flavor and a multitude of languages spoken. Of course, Brussels has been in the news a lot lately with the airport explosion and several machete attacks by fanatics, and we were questioned a number of times by friends and family as to why we would go there. The answer was quite simple: because if we don't go, "they" win. And that is not an option. As we looked around Brussels, we saw evidence of vigilance against more violence, but we also saw everyone going about their daily business with an air of normalcy. As did we.

The day began in Place Sainte Catherine in front of a beautiful old church, which was a bit of humorous irony in itself. Artists and models gathered, shed clothing and began painting. Casual onlookers stopped out of a curiosity and interest in what was happening, and there were no expressions of horror or disapproval. On the contrary, cell phone batteries were getting a workout with recordings and photos, some even asking to pose with a few of the models.

The air was hot and the work was difficult keeping the paint from sweating off of skin. As we walked around talking to participants, everyone had a different, unique story as to why they were there and what they were feeling. The overall theme translated to the art and freedom of expression on a million different personal levels. It was in defiance of oppression and oppressors. It was almost reminiscent of a flashback to simpler, freer times of Woodstock and smoky New York City Village cafes, without music, in bright sunlight with cell phone selfies (yes, naked people still managed to bring their cell phones).

On the subsequent march through the magnificent city of Brussels, there was much gaiety, and strangers descending upon the happy group as though to somehow sample some of what they were experiencing.

There was a microcosm of perfection within that day that no outside force could destroy, even when the colourful group was stopped temporarily by local police. They subsequently “closed one eye” and we marched on.

It felt as though a seed of peace was planted that day, from which we can only hope a strong, true tree of positivity and acceptance will spring.

Watch a video of the events of the day:
Beyond The Paint