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Beyond the Eye of the Beholder: Ideals of Human Beauty in Africa and the Americas

March 1, 2005-January 17, 2006
Location: Unspecified location
Curator: Dorit Shafir, Yvonne Fleitman
Ideals of beauty vary across different cultures. In Africa and the Americas, corporal metamorphosis is conceived as drawing the human body out of its original biological state and elevating it to the realm of the spiritual. Body art, including painting, tattooing, piercing, and scarification as well as cranial modeling and dental filing, is considered beautiful and plays an important role in a wide range of ceremonies. It can convey a person's religious faith, social status, or special accomplishments, encoding memories, desires, and life histories. This exhibition examines concepts of beauty and the traditions of body modification through the display of artworks spanning a period from 1300 BCE to the 20th century.