A WHOLE NEW WORLD
THE AUSTRALIAN BODY ART FESTIVAL WILL BE A FEAST FOR THE EYES BUT THE FAMILY-FRIENDLY EVENT OFFERS MORE IF YOU SCRATCH BENEATH THE SURFACE
It’s almost like walking into your favourite fairytale or fiction book, as mystical characters and beings dripping with wacky colours and patterns wander the grounds around you. It almost doesn’t feel real but that’s the beauty of the Australian Body Art Festival – it’s unlike anything else. The annual festival is happening again on the Sunshine Coast on April 6 and 7, and thanks to some new Federal Government funding, it’s set to be the best one ever. Filling this year’s line-up are more live music acts, roaming street performers, diverse workshops and a massive kids’ play zone. Then there is the live cultural entertainment from members of the Gubbi Gubbi tribe including workshops on Aboriginal-style body art, ochre painting and storytelling. Festival manager Danielle Taylor said the new funding had allowed the event to grow its resources and move to a larger venue at Apex Park.
“As part of the Building Better Regions Fund, they (the government) donated $34,500, so we’ve got a lot more to work with this year,” Danielle said. “In addition to that, we also received $12,000 in funding from the Queensland Government. “And since winning the Sunshine Coast Business Award for the best small business in the festival and events category, we’ve had lots of new sponsors come on board that we are doing fun new things with.” The growth is helping the festival to shine an international spotlight on the Sunshine Coast region, attracting many artists, models and competitors from all around the globe. One of those competitors eagerly awaiting the opportunity to showcase her work is local artist Ayesha Henderson (pictured right and who designed the piece featured on the Weekend magazine cover). As a multi-award-winning body art and face painting artist as well as a five-time instructor at the Australian Body Arts Convention, all eyes will be on Ayesha’s design inspired by the festival’s 2019 theme: Other Worlds. While she won’t let us disclose any secrets of her design, she promises it’ll be “innovative and interpreted outside of the box”, sending attendees on a visual journey while causing them to reflect on a very important issue. “It’s all very top-secret stuff,” she says with a giggle. Ayesha first discovered body art by chance, when she decided to be the in-house face painter at her daughter’s birthday party 14 years ago. She became captivated by the idea of a moving canvas and the associated design challenges that came with it. Before long, she was experimenting with different forms of body art including pregnant belly art, which is a service she now offers at her home studio in Kuluin. “I design the artwork to suit them. I did a belly painting recently and it’s got a little girl who’s playing a saxophone because the mother’s a music teacher, so it incorporated different aspects of the couple’s life,” Ayesha said. But as the festival looms, Ayesha is now turning her focus on next weekend’s competition. While, she says, she’s prepared for the time-pressured event in the hope of a win, above all she’s proud to simply take part in the event she believes is so important because of the culture it creates here on the Coast. “It’s amazing,” Ayesha said. “It draws in so many people and you are live painting in front of them, so it builds your confidence and builds your technique. “Plus, I get to make friends with so many artists around Australia. We are like a little family. “That’s why I do it. Not so much to win or anything but for that community.”
ABOVE: Ayesha Henderson at her home studio.