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Jan 27, 2011

Body politics: photography, paint and nudity collide at the Image Factory

For the next month the gallery at the Image Factory will house the artwork of a UK and Placencia based photographer.  Some of Boyarde Messenger’s art can be considered taboo, but she has received some rave reviews in London. News Five’s Jose Sanchez got an early preview of the art that literally strips away shame and leaves behind only the beauty of the human body. Still, be warned that some of the following images contain tasteful nudity.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Body and Space is the offspring of trained painter turned photographer Boyarde Messenger. The UK artist annually spends half a year in the Belize capturing images that are displayed locally and at fine galleries in London.

Boyarde Messenger

Boyarde Messenger, Artist

“I’m a portrait photographer, I wouldn’t classify myself as a landscape photography, but for some reason, I love the Belize countryside so much; I am so inspired by it. But also I’m very much into film and  just kept walking along streets, and it reminds me of a film I’ve just seen and I wanted to try and capture it. I like to call my landscapes more like they are portraits of spaces of human interaction. I found myself skulking the streets at night taking pictures of Belize and creating these beautiful images that happen again. I’m a trained painter, but I was always interested in photography. So, I went to university to further study photographs. Now I combine the two. I was a commercial photographer for a few years, music videos, album covers, commercial portraits. But then I saw that creating my own work is where I’m most comfortable.”

Where Messenger is most comfortable in her art, some may still find taboo.  The nude female form is the subject of most of her works. The strokes of her brush have also found their way into the dialogue on body politics.

Boyarde Messenger

“The awakening comes from me. I studied post feminism at the university, but I think my obsession with the female form came from my lack of confidence in myself, believe it or not and finding the avenue to express it and to empower myself. I was always interested in the female form as a painter, so I decided to start doing nude photography and found it empowering, gratifying, to also stop myself from feeling insecure at the same time.  I actually photographed a friend’s bottom which was a first of doing a technical nude and then I was trying to find another way to express it and I missed painting so much because I was doing so much photography and I just thought let’s try and incorporate the two and that’s how it developed. It kind of just happened by accident really.”

Jose Sanchez

“And how did this incorporate in Belize?  Did you leave the UK and started and then you came here, or did it really take off here in Belize?”

Boyarde Messenger

“Well with the nudes I started doing it in the UK. My first exhibition was 2006 and I got a taste of it. I then came to Belize to photograph a friend’s wedding just by accident and I was very inspired by the country—the color, the lights but especially the people and the free-spirit. And the combination of the two—I knew there was something I needed to do over here, but the nudes was not an obvious transition. There were left in England, but there was actually this local girl, who I have become very good friends with, she basically started the whole process cause she asked me to photograph her. And I think without her seeing my work on the internet, perhaps it wouldn’t have happened because I am very aware that I’ve come to a new country where nude photography is not as well accepted here as it is in the western world. In the western world it still got its own stigmas attached.”

Art does not always represent life. Boyarde’s pieces show that the landscape of creativity can be found in the faded glow under a street light or along the curves of the human form. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

Body and Space opens at seven on Friday night at the Image Factory. The public is invited to attend. All pieces are on sale.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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