Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Press Release

8-Months Pregnant Mother Goes Bare For Art and Humanity
Calgary, Green Fools Theatre, January 13, 2007
Lethbridge, Bowman Arts Centre, January 5, 2007

“We live in what we all now understand is a scarily vulnerable and interconnected world. Yet we have no real idea how to deal with that—myself included. My project is about expanding our comfort zone,” says award-winning Lethbridge artist Tasha Diamant, creator of the Human Body Project, the first event of which was staged in March. Adds Diamant: “I truly believe we will get nowhere until we all understand viscerally, not intellectually, our own and our collective vulnerability. We don’t really get it. Look at how we close ourselves off, look at how we treat ourselves and each other, look at how we treat the Earth.”

For the Human Body Project, Diamant has committed to staging annual or more frequent events in which she stands naked and invites people to come be with her in this vulnerable state. The event takes place in silence but participants have the choice of speaking into a microphone or using art and writing materials to express themselves. The last event has been well documented by Diamant on her website, Upcoming Human Body Project events will take place in Lethbridge on Friday, January 5, 2007, and in Calgary, on Saturday, January 13, 2007. Diamant will be in her ninth month of a difficult pregnancy.

“I knew when I found out I was pregnant that I wanted my pregnant body to be part of my project,” says Diamant. “If you’re addressing the issue of vulnerability, as I am, pregnancy adds a deeper layer.”

About the whole naked body thing, she offers: “People are so accustomed to viewing the bodies of others as objects and their own with shame or criticism. But I am not presenting myself as an object. I don’t pose; I’m actually very uncomfortable about my body being seen. I’m 45, I’m not a model, I’m flabby—it’s not about exhibitionism or beauty. I present myself to represent what we all are. Like every other human creature, I live in this fragile physical package.”

She adds: “Unfortunately there are still attitudes out there that see nakedness as obscene.” At Diamant’s first Human Body Project event in Lethbridge, a plainclothes policewoman, acting on complaints from the community about nudity, was one of the 70+ attendees. “The policewoman left and said, ‘That was beautiful.’”

Maybe it seems strange that a relatively ordinary mother—Diamant teaches at Lethbridge Community College and lives with her husband, her daughter, two dogs and two cats—would choose to take on such a project. But Diamant says she feels a deep sense of urgency: “Particularly as a mother, I feel I need to do whatever I can do to move humanity forward and I need to believe it’s possible. I want my children, and all children, to live in a better, safer world. None of us will be okay until we’re all okay.”

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