Africa: First Equatorial Guinea Bodypainting Festival Amazes The World With Spectacular Living Artworks
First Equatorial Guinea Bodypainting Festival (EGBF) was a smashing success and a stunning display of beauty and talented artistry. Top artists from 18 countries around the World as well as local artists got together to create spectacular living artworks. Among artists, there were 11 bodypainting World Champions. Local participants and models did a superb job especially considering that for many of them this was the very first time that they got bodypainted.
The public was simply blown away by the unique artistic designs that transformed regular people into Mystical Beauties. Meanwhile, kids absolutely loved being face painted and at times there were long lineups for the artists who were doing it. EGBF 2019 events were held over two weekends, January 12-13 and January 19-20, in the Malabo National Park. Main sponsors of the Festival were: President of the Equatorial Guinea, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Art, TNM, National Bank of Equatorial Guinea and Malabo National Park.
I could not believe my luck of being invited to photograph such an amazing and colorful EGBF 2019! Equipped with Nikon D850 DSLR camera and Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens I have spent both weekends tirelessly zigzagging the Malabo National Park to capture as many living artworks as I could. In this article you will find 40 of my favorite photo impressions of this unique Festival. To better portrait the natural beauty of this experience I did not use fill flash on any outdoor photos; also, none of the images posted are Photoshopped or digitally manipulated. What you see here on Bored Panda is exactly what I saw in person at the EGBF 2019.
There were so many positive feelings and reactions about this first Equatorial Guinea Bodypainting Festival! Artists, models, organizers and volunteers did such an exceptional job of putting this Festival together. I simply cannot tell how thankful I am to everyone for creating this magical EGBF experience. Below are some quotes and impressions that I wanted to share with you from key people behind this Festival.
Ehud Cohen (Director)
“I used to live here for the past 13 years and I saw how Equatorial Guinea developed. It was developing very quickly in terms of facilities for the tourists and facilities for other events that can be hosted in this country. This first Equatorial Guinea Bodypainting Festival was successful from the point of view of the government and from the public as well. There was good participation from the public and they told us that they would like to see it more frequently because after the event they felt deep emptiness for the rest of the year. Next year there will be tourist packages and arrangements that will include visas, flights, hotels and tours.”
Lora Tulchinski (Founder & Artist)
“I love Equatorial Guinea and I love Africa because when I come here I have the freedom to express myself. Here, it is very calm and there is no pressure when you are doing artwork. My favorite moment of the Festival was to see the artists I love, see their work, talk to them and to spend time in that unique creative art atmosphere. Usually they say that models should know what to do, how to pose and how to behave. Here, in Equatorial Guinea, models were not professional models. They were women and men from different villages close to the city. What was important and what I liked about those models were their simplicity, naturalness and sincerity. Local support and local organizing committee were key to the success of the Festival.”
Miguel Angel (Art Director)
“We believe that our success as artists does not come from the fame we acquire but from the lives we impact along the way, and this is the purpose of this project – to impact lives. It was amazing to see smiles on the children’s faces when we visited schools and also the amazement of those who came to see bodypainting during the Festival held in the Malabo National Park. It was great to see the local artists that wanted to learn the techniques from the international artists, so we organized workshops for them. This is what Equatorial Guinea Bodypainting Festival is all about; it is more than just an event, this Festival is a movement to inspire people to explore their talents.”
Alex Hansen (Artist, Brazil)
“I think my favorite impressions of the Festival would be the models and the excitement of the audience seeing the work. They were just really happy to see what we do and how we do it. This was a really great experience for the audience, the people who were watching, the people who were involved, the models and everybody who came to us and helped us out with this event. I think this is one of the best events I’ve been to so far. Everybody is involved, everybody takes care of each other, everybody takes care of the face painting and the body painting; if you’re missing something we share all our tools, all our equipment. It’s such a great feeling, it’s almost like a family. It’s a really great event, something that you want to be a part of. The wrap party on stage was incredible! For me it was really genuine, it was innocent, and it was beautiful.”
Julie Boehm (Artist, Germany)
“This country is so beautiful, people are so amazing. It is really worth it to come here and also to get inspired by very natural beauty of this country and people. I think it’s so new to Equatorial Guinea to make an event like this here; people are so excited and I got so many friend requests. Very special experience for me was that we have visited schools. Before, I did not do kids paintings but this time we had to face paint a lot of kids; only 1-3 minutes per painting. It was such an amazing experience for me and it inspired me to do more of kids face painting when I come back.”
Nick Wolfe (Artist, United States)
“I think my favourite day of the Festival was last Sunday. When we wrapped it up they have all the models come up on the stage, all the artists, all the staff, everybody. We were throwing hats and T-shirts into the audience and then everybody started dancing. You can kind of see that African culture as you are walking around during the week; they were dancing in a circle, pulling people in, chanting their names, and bouncing up and down. They pulled me in, I was like “no way” and I was dancing and everybody was like “Nick, Nick, Nick!” That was awesome! Then at the end of the night one of the locals gave me that traditional head butt that you give someone; it means giving someone peace. For me that was like the best; I got the African head butt, the legit head butt, so that was the top of my week.”
Abigail Austria Wong (Face Painter)
“My favorite impressions are the smiles from the kids faces because every time they see their faces after getting their faces painted they just smile and run. That’s really good because we have been painting so many kids faces and then we rarely see that many amazing smiles all in the same place; and they are really thankful and they really appreciate that. I am really happy. We painted hundreds, 200-300 kids every day; that was really cool. My favorite part was also going to schools because you receive a warm welcome from everybody.
They have never seen tourists before, they have rarely seen people with different hair color or just people who paint. Having to put face painting into school here is the highlight of the whole trip for me. It is, and I could not ask for more.”
What to say at the end? I absolutely loved, loved, loved the Equatorial Guinea Bodypainting Festival 2019!!! Can’t wait to be there again next year (and every year after that)! My experience with festivals like this is that artworks will be unique every day and every year and so as photographer I simply don’t want to miss any day of it.