June 12, 2013 / Huffington Post – “Cuerpos Sagrados or Sacred Bodies”
June 3, 2013 / NPR – “Seeing The Psychotropic, Photographing The Phantasmagoric”
In this series, photographer Holly Wilmeth presents her interpretation of various indigenous rituals from around the world by combining anthropological, aesthetic, and symbolic elements. Her use of native subjects, hand painted human bodies, natural environments, exotic insects/plants, and to a certain poignant colors thus resulting in both the beautiful documentation of culture and a visually striking collection of portraits.
The art of transforming ourselves with make-up, masks, and “jewelry” [here in the form of nature, using flora and insects] is a universal phenomenon that has continually shifted through the ages. Before man and woman sought to vent their artistic impulse on a cave wall, they painted their faces and bodies as well as that of their children.
Regarding the exhibit at hand, decorating one’s body in various patterns and shapes has been a part of the cultural make-up of indigenous tribes around the globe since the beginning of time. Indigenous peoples of the Amazon, for instance, believe that in this power to change ourselves, we demonstrate our humanity and set ourselves apart from the world of the animals.
Regarding the significance of the colors and patterns of the painted bodies, Holly states, “Whereas black is considered to be an inauspicious color in most cultures, the color of ‘living’ worn on the face during war preparations, white predictably is the color of peace.”
The subjects of this collection were shot on location in Rio Dulce (Guatemala) and in San Miguel de Allende (Mexico).
Digital and alternative gold leafing processes were used in the making and printing of these photographs. The edition of these is limited, hand signed and numbered.