The naked body– although stripped down, simple and bare –is perhaps the most powerful, and perplexing, image. The same basic concept–skin, muscles, fat, bones–with some key variations–breasts, genitals, hair–can be used in many different manners, and interpreted in many different ways. We see the naked body medically, artistically, erotically, and pornographically. It is our most natural, yet most enigmatic, state.
What artist wouldn’t want to dedicate their life to nudity?
Tasha Diamant, listed as a mother first and an artist and educator second, started the Human Body Project to “share a visceral experience of our mutual vulnerability and humanity, on this vulnerable planet we are destroying because we do not know how to abide in that vulnerability.”
This interdisciplinary project–using video, canvas, living art, social media and blog posts–began as a non-violent protest in 2006. But what, exactly, does the naked body protest? The most obvious, and slightly flippant answer, is clothes. But in a way, that’s true. Clothes symbolize the false values, constructs and norms that culture dresses us in daily. By appearing naked, Diamant hopes to embody the core of humanity that connects us all: fragility, physicality, morality, and sexuality.
Yet Diamant admits that, as powerful as it is, she is not always comfortable in her own skin:
“I do not consider myself to be an exhibitionist or a nudist. Being naked in front of people makes me very uncomfortable. Like any human being, I use defences [sic] that are often unconscious and unskilled to create a feeling of safety for myself. But who I am is a heartful person. This is the truth I most want to own as a human being and what we all need to own as human beings. This is the most vulnerable thing to be.”
This project is the embodiment of a Naked Truth Award: pushing outside your comfort zone to prove the positive power of the naked body, and distancing it from stigma, fear or contempt.
The Naked Truth Award is given to a person or organization that has somehow shown awesome bravery in standing up for truth, justice, health, freedom and/or coolness in our world.