Yesterday evening, Saturday, March 6th, I certainly experienced something totally new to Cornwall, even though it is a centuries old form of art. What I am talking about is the art of body painting. I had the honour of attending the opening night of “Power Shine” at Cailuan Gallery. This is the joint exhibition of Body Art performed by Egyptian born artist Yaffa Goawily and Photography of the models, by her husband Kaiser Moussa. The show Celebrates Feminine Power through Ancient Rituals.
As I walked towards Cailuan Gallery at 225 Pitt Street here in Cornwall, I really wasn’t sure what I would find inside but was pleasantly surprised by the smell of incense, low lighting, spiritual music performed by their friend George and walls covered with wonderful photographs (taken by Kaiser) of their friends that Yaffa has adorned with her body art creations, a totally different feel for the gallery than what I am used to.
Yaffa greeted me at the door and showed me around. For those who don’t know her and I’m sure there are not too many in the Cornwall Arts Community who don’t, Yaffa and Kaiser moved to Cornwall from Montreal, just at the same time as Covid-19 visited with us and moved in as well!!! Despite the timing though, Yaffa has been accepted into our community with open arms and is such a great asset with her happy and positive character plus her ability to make projects that introduce everyone to the beauty of creating art, whether they are artists or not and of course Yaffa also has the knack of bringing people together – socially distanced of course!!!
Below is a photo of musician George with an array of ancient musical instruments as well as singing bowls which all created the relaxing background sounds and wonderful ambiance.
When I entered the gallery I noticed that the ladies, Yaffa, Cailan and Tracey were bare foot so I asked Yaffa what was the significance of that. She told me that they were supporting Cailan by taking off some of their clothes.
I then asked her how the body painting interest began she told me that 18 years ago when she attended Alexandria University in Egypt to study Mural Art she had a class where they had to paint a bowl of fruit (I also remember having a class like that when I studied art at college). However, Yaffa said that she found this boring so she started painting on her hand and so started her journey to using the body as a living canvas. While living in Egypt she was restricted in her interest in body painting but when the couple moved to Dubai she was able to practice it more and then of course when they moved to Montreal where people are more open she began to expand the body painting interest and even offered workshops in it (pre-covid of course). Hopefully one day she will be able to do the same here in Cornwall.
For now however, it was interesting to see how Yaffa used the skin of local model Cailan Davies as her living canvas. Cailan Davies is the daughter of Cailuan Gallery owner Tracey Lynn Davies.
Yaffa and her husband Kaiser Moussa make a great team. Kaiser told me that Yaffa does the creating and then he comes in and does the photography. Kaiser is not only a photographer but also a film/television producer who has worked for MTV, Nickelodeon and Formula 1 and has co-produced some of the biggest TV shows in Dubai.
As the gallery could only have 10 visitors in at a time I stayed to watch the start of the project and was happy when Yaffa sent me some photos (taken by Kaiser) of Cailan’s body art completed. I was not sure of what she would look like when Yaffa started applying the yellow poster paint but I am quite impressed by the finished product – despite the fact that the model has a serious face, the art composition and bright colours certainly give a happy feel and when I look at her I see her covered in a field of flowers, yellow sunflowers to be exact. What do you see?
I wonder if Cailan felt sad when she has to wash the paint off – I think I would certainly would have! (although I would not have been brave enough to do what she did in the first place – having someone paint on me in front of an audience!)
Below are some of the photos you will see at the gallery when you visit the show.
The photo above has to be my favourite piece in the whole show. It is a photo of Yaffa and Kaiser’s friend Rose covered with Yaffa’s Body Art , Rose’s own painting behind her and photographed by Kaiser. A 3-in-1 composition for sure which to me portrays what this show is all about. Connection, Energy and Happiness while at the same time inner peace and being comfortable in our own skin!
The “Power Shine” Body Painting Photography Exhibition continues at the Cailuan Gallery til April 6th and you can visit the show from 10am to 5pm, Thursday to Saturday. For more info. about the gallery you can visit: www.cailuan.ca
We are very happy to inform you that Yaffa will be a regular contributor to the Seeker starting in the April issue. Her column will be about Art and she will be teaching how to create art through “Yaffa Arts & Crafts”. Check out her Facebook Page Yaffa Arts & Crafts as well.
Yaffa will also be joining The Seeker Chicks, Julia and myself, on our “Monday Morning Motivation Show” tomorrow morning, Monday, March 8th at 10am (watch the show on The Seeker Facebook Page). We will be “Celebrating the powerful women in our lives” and chatting with our Seeker contributors, Betty Healey of roadSIGNS, Marlene Lister aka Positively Marlene, and of course, our newest Seeker contributor, artist Yaffa Goawily PLUS Cornwall’s Mayor, Bernadette Clement. Don’t miss this show and come and join us to chat about Women’s Issues!