Coastal Bodies Tour 2020 – Shedding the shame, by artist Ciara Patricia Langan
The Coastal Bodies Tour started in 2019 as a response to an awareness of a problem within Irish society on how we feel about our naked body.
The tour aims to document all coastal counties of the Island of Ireland . These photographs will be populated by adults of all shapes and sizes, representing inclusions and showcasing the diversity of human form.
The tour was catalyzed by a 3 year sculptural project called The Arc. Much of the work remains on exhibition at 360 Cook House, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. Collaborations naturally occurred with World Naked Bike Ride Cork and Body painting Cork to help grow my practice and galvanize the idea that pro social nudity was healthy and beneficial to the individuals participating.
Having studied as a holistic therapist for over 20 year previous, body issues woven into the threads of our culture were well known to me and as such I have always worked with the Human body in both practices.
Coastal Bodies unites arts and holistic thinking and aims to provide an elegant and efficient remedy to those who would like to feel more positive about themselves. Shedding the unwanted shame attached to nudity by shedding one’s clothing as participatory art in a controlled environment can liberate and amplify one’s own sense of freedom. I have found myself to be the facilitator of this form of relational aesthetics, letting the participants behave naturally while documenting the event. Eighty percent of the documentation is guided by the people involved, the remaining twenty percent is gentle guidance and direction provided by me.
How we speak about our bodies and other people’s bodies affects our psychological landscape. When re-contextualized into a more positive affirmation, the ownership of one’s own skin and the forms we take can bolster our resilience and protect our mental health.
We live in a culture of body shaming. We have a product for every facet of perceived flaw. We are seduced into thinking these modifications will make us feel better. We are told to aim for this standard of beauty but in reality it degrades our sense of natural worth. It’s completely absurd. Metaphorically speaking, we had masks on long before Covid-19. To be free in one’s own body sometimes prompts a journey within.
I certainly can testify taking responsibility for my own individualization was not an easy task. I first confronted my beliefs as rooted in the culture of my birth and then systematically removed many of my unproductive manifestations of cultural projections and collisions and as yet, I am far from done! It has taken years to jettison the collateral damage inflicted by harmful beliefs, especially as an Irish female living now, during our great transformation and epitomes of what could be deemed in future as our Ubermench moment – (ie) a broader awareness of the responsibility of existence and vernacular existentialism.
We have questioned the church and are now ready to separate it from state matters mostly knowing that we can move forward with a better understood personal responsibility for our own safety, security and well being. The legacy of these historical associations is unfolding around us. We have choices to make in terms of how it affects us personally and socially.
One such matter is the issue of body integrity and personal autonomy. It is a fundamental human right to be free from cruel or degrading treatment, yet we body-shame celebrities, friends and family to feel ” lesser” as individuals. Marketing products aimed at our insecurities are normalized. I see this coercion as manipulative and degrading to our body integrity.
If you have thinning balding hair? “We can help you with that. Lustrous thick leg hair? “We don’t want that” and off it comes with a razor or blade, weapons against our body. We are at war with our natural ourselves. We shame each other into modifications that are performed as an act of collusion and agreement that we are in some way despicable and ugly, whereas I believe that we should perform these ceremonial acts on ourselves in full awareness, by our own wishes for our own reasons and not because we have to. We have a choice now as to what our “new normal” can be. This new normal can include being happy and content in one’s own skin.
This particular issue is an extraction from the bigger picture on how the coastal bodies project will help dissolve unproductive beliefs about our bodies. It has the aim of revealing damaging parts of cultural beliefs and will ultimately help to move Ireland forward into modernity. As we move along the coastline having more than 12 installations completed so far, the idea of connections and integration has become a powerful healing tool for many who participate.
- Crough woods, Co Waterford
- Mahon Falls, Co Waterford
- Ballydowan cove, Co Waterford
- Caliso bay, Kinsalebeg, Co Waterford
- St Declans Way, Grange, Co Waterford
- The Beacon, Baltimore, Co. Cork
- Ballycotton Cliff Walk, Co Cork
- Staigue Stone Fort, Co Kerry
- Dunquin Pier, Co Kerry
- The Blasket Center Platform, Co Kerry
- Molls Gap, Co Kerry
- Knockdrum Stone Fort, Co Cork.
The Irish Naturist Association have been extremely helpful, veteran in the knowledge of the positive effects of non sexual social nudity. Many new faces joined as we rounded the south west tip of the Irish coastline and are looking forward to the next leg of the tour in West Ireland. With the introduction of Covid-19 safety measures we are keeping the numbers low to keep everyone as safe as possible. If you would like to participate and help grow the movement or help financially please let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org.