Painted Models by Grace Tam
Rather than do my usual discussions and debates on the matters at hand I would like to turn them over to you, who do you side with in this issue? the artists or the council? Personally I find the language involved fascinating.. I will wait to voice my own opinion for now.
Both Baggio and Grace Tam said they were approached during the painting process by a member of the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Arts Council who voiced concern that the nudity could become an issue.
“I was a bit confused,” said Baggio. “Normally with body painting, it’s done completely nude, but we’re covering the bottom already.” Baggio was wearing black bikini bottoms and was topless, but Tam had already finished painting over the entire chest. She and Tam agreed to put flesh-coloured Band-Aids over her nipples, and those were painted over. They both say they thought it became less of a taboo issue now after Baggio’s nipples weren’t exposed.
Baggio was covered in paint by the time the show began, and Tam painted on a second human canvas later in the evening. The second model also covered her nipples and she was wearing tights on her lower half.
There were children both in attendance and performing in the show, but the artists said they received a mature reaction from the young attendees.
“The children couldn’t care less; not one child was making a deal out of it,” recalled fellow performer C.J. Jackman Zigante. “It was one of those things where if the adults didn’t make an issue of it, they didn’t either.”
“They thought it was neat, and their parents were fine with it too, from what I could see,” said Baggio. “They were there for an art show.”
The discussion over the boundaries of art and nudity are worthwhile and timely. The arts council presents undraped models in painting classes and we are pleased to do so.
But, just like it is appropriate for all people to be able to judge whether they wish to attend an “R” rated movie with their children, it is appropriate that we inform people in advance whether there will be nude art at what was advertised as a family event. This is allowing families to use their judgment; an important freedom we respect.
Freedom of art is not advanced by trampling on parents rights, but by artists and the public having mutual trust and respect
The members of the board of the arts council are hardworking volunteers. Many of them are artists and they are certainly not prudes. We were happy to have body art tastefully displayed in the lobby, and apologize to those families who have shared their upset that the models then appearing on stage beside their children (without the director of the show’s permission), and to anyone in the audience that also took exception to this.
I look forward to reading your comments. it’s an interesting situation!