Australian Body Art Carnivale

Australian Body Art Carnivale

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Body art Photos: Christina Pfeiffer

The Australian Body Art Carnivale is the eye-popping event of the year on the Sunshine Coast.



Australian body art carnivale

Australian Body Art Carnivale

There were painted bodies everywhere, decorated with Australian mammals, reptiles, birdlife and delicate wildflowers.

Some bodies and faces were painted with fantasy landscapes, while others were tributes to ANZACS, swagmen and flying doctors.

Australian body art carnivale
One of the amazing creations

I showed up on the last day of the festival to take photos. My intention was to pop in for an hour. I loved it so much I ended up staying all day.

Bunny ears and beer cans

Australian body art carnivale
Bunny ears

It was a sunny blue-sky afternoon in Eumundi as I stood in the coffee queue behind a young woman wearing an old pair of shoes fashioned into bunny ears on her head.

Another woman was wearing a dress made from old stubby cans.

Australian body art carnivale
Stubby can dress

The theme was “Best of Oz” showcased the talent of local and international artists. The winner of the Special Effects section, Jin Hyun Yong, travelled all the way from South Korea.

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A colorful entry

Wizard of Oz

The festival showcased a breath of talent. Some designers incorporated national icons such as the Opera House, the Hills Hoist, vegemite and budgie smugglers into their creations.

Other artists chose to interpret the “Best of Oz” theme subjectively and presented interpretations of emerald cities, Dorothy’s red shoes and Toto from the “Wizard of Oz”.

What is body art?

Body Art is an art form in which people modify, change, decorate and adorn their bodies. The main forms of body art are tattooing, shaping, scarring and painting. Some of these art forms are thousands of years old.

The oldest tattooed body known was Ötzi the Ice man, a frozen human discovered in the Austrian Alps with 57 tattoos.

The body dates back 5,300 years ago and some of the tattoos were thought to have been used as treatment for arthritis in the ankles, knees and lower back.

At the Australian Body Art Carnivale, the “Wearable Art” fashion show was filled with stylish designs made from recycled treasures.

Models paraded in dresses made from of all kinds of recyclable materials, such as Australian stubby coolers, an inflatable air bed and even the canvas from a 1920’s tent!

The Australian theme ran strong in many of the designs. A splendid gown made from vegemite and toast drew gasps from the crowd, as did a skimpy creation fashioned from thongs and designed to look like a gum tree.

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Car bonnet art

The car bonnet art entries were auctioned off at the end of the festival. Some were a steal at $50 while others, such as a painting of Dame Edna, fetched a few hundred dollars.

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More car bonnet art

The theme of this year’s event, dreams and nightmares, should attract some creative entries. There’s no doubt the Australian Body Art Carnivale is a visual feast.

The Australian Body Art Festival is held in May each year in Eumundi on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

The Sunhine Coast hinterland is a serene getaway. Find out more about bushwalking in Kondalilla National Park.


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