Life-size portraits tracing the details of our lives
Body maps are life-size self-portraits that we paint tracing our the outlines of our bodies on canvas and filling in the details of our lives, our histories, and our hopes.
All of us have bodies that hold the scars of our pasts, the realities or our present, and our hopes for the future. We believe that the process of painting and sharing body maps helps us to learn and to heal, and to reflect on our lives and the choices available to us. Seen together, body maps provide a road map for social change because they show us how our choices and our circumstances shape who we are.
In addition to working with HIV-positive women’s and children’s groups, we have done body maps with torture survivors, rape survivors, sexual minorities, sex workers, and others.
We painted our first body maps in 2006 in Kenya, India, and Thailand for an activist exhibition on HIV-positive women’s experience in Kobe, Japan. Since then, TICAH has continues to use art to encourage sharing, healing, and collective action. We have hosted performances, events, and exhibitions of the body maps locally and in many international conferences. The TICAH Angels, a group of rape survivors who painted body maps with us, have bravely hosted community forums to talk about gang rape, child abuse, and ways to prevent these kinds of violence and seek justice when they do occur.
Over the years, TICAH has partnered with Art2Be in Kenya, Human Rights Media Centre in South Africa, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience in the USA, Point of View in India, and others to create safe places for sharing, reflection, expression, and healing and then find larger venues for exhibition.