Artworks on display in the 2013 Body Language exhibition. Credit: Charmaine Idris.

Mobarak Nazari’s torso design 'Freedom'  on display in the Body Language exhibition. Credit: Charmaine Idris.

Mobarak Nazari’s torso design ‘Freedom’ on display in the Body Language exhibition. Credit: Charmaine Idris.

A young man in blue sits curled up, shielding his face from onlookers. In the background, prison bars and a bird complete the story of a young man’s time in a refugee camp, dreaming of freedom.

Mobarak Nazari’s design ‘Freedom’ is created on a plaster torso, one of 18 that was on display in the Body Language exhibition.

The Body Language Project has been running for the past five years. It is a Boystown Art Program that allows young people to express their innermost feelings and stories through art.

Evangeline Goodfellow, program facilitator, selected the artworks for the Body Language exhibition – each decorated torso is unique and reflects a variety of issues that affect young people today. The chosen works that were on display, creatively interpreted topics such as alcohol and drug addiction, bullying, depression, abuse, religion, culture and identity.

Myalla Weazel’s work, titled ‘The culture that lives on’ on display in the Body Language Exhibition. Credit: Charmaine Idris.

Myalla Weazel’s work, titled ‘The culture that lives on’ on display in the Body Language Exhibition. Credit: Charmaine Idris.

Myalla Weazel’s work, titled ‘The culture that lives on’, represents her struggle with her identity. Melissa Paul’s work ‘It’s only skin deep until you go too far’ expresses how art has helped her to deal with her emotions in a therapeutic and fulfilling manner.

Ms Goodfellow said that each torso was designed from scratch using the same bandages that are used by doctors to heal broken bones. She also guided each artist to determine their design and to use the appropriate colours to express their individual story.

The torsos were thought-provoking and gave their young artists the ‘non-verbal’ opportunity to share their personal experiences with the public through their innovative designs.

It was fitting that the Body Language exhibition ran in conjunction with the dance theatre production Freeze Frame for the Brisbane Festival as they share similar stories.

Freeze Frame tells the stories of disadvantaged American youngsters through dance and music whereas the Body Language exhibition tells the same stories about Australian youth, but through art.

According to the festival’s artistic director, Noel Staunton, this year’s focus was on the younger generations, about their stories and the telling of these in a contemporary way.

“Like holding a mirror up to America and Australia,” stated Mr. Staunton.

Both Freeze Frame and Body Language epitomised Mr. Staunton’s vision for this year’s festival as both shows ultimately allowed young people to express their stories through contemporary arts practices.

The Body Language exhibition was on display in the Playhouse Theatre foyer, QPAC throughout the duration of Freeze Frame from Thursday 19 September until Sunday 22 September 2013.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.

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