Written by Nunu Namises
I never really met Juliana. I bumped into her a number of times at the usual spots in Windhoek. I loved her energy though. She was very loudly present with every bit of herself but in a subtle way. That’s the same way I feel about her work, which I only ever seen on Facebook. When I saw, on the same social networking site, that she was finally exhibiting her nude photography, I was ecstatic. I’d never been to an exhibition like this before. I owed it to myself to go and see it.
The show kicked off a few minutes late. So we, my good friend Heather and I, sat and observed the crowd. An amazing amalgam of people. Brought together by an expression in nakedness.
We decided to look at the portraits after the introductory speech. Only there wasn’t a speech or any talking, for that matter.
When the dancers got on stage I wished I was closer to the front. The music was psychedelic and the dancers looked liked they lost their minds and found their bodies in a forest of skin.
Let that sink in.
And they just kept moving. Unapologetic. Crazy. Each of their bodies like one solid unit. The stockings they wore made sure we didn’t see the head separately from the neck separately from the shoulders separately from the arms, thighs and ass.
I think that’s when I realized what the JuliART nude photography exhibition and perhaps most of her nude works were about. That it was more important to explore, love and use the body as a tool of expression than it was to see just another naked human being.
I’ve had a huge obsession with the human body for as long as I can remember. It was weird, funny and at times frightening what I would learn about other’s and mine.
I’ve now learned that these obsessions don’t begin or end with me. For many years it’s been a ‘no touch’ subject. The naked body. Inappropriate or uncomfortable to show it off and speak of it like ‘that’ in public.
A a matter of fact, I just recently read a friend’s post on Facebook that quite importantly highlighted the value of teaching their children to know boundaries when it came to the contact others or they had with each others bodies. What this post did mention, however, was that we had to refrain, from being naked around our children. Undressing around them etc. from the age of about two. I kind of lost my mind because surely we aren’t being told to hide our bodies from our children and believing that it would teach them to respect the boundaries of other people when it comes to bodily contact. Would it?
The images were light. Easy to swallow. Not that they weren’t provoking or controversial (well, they weren’t to me). They seemed so familiar and portrayed very little discomfort or reluctance. A good feeling to have when you are in your skin only.
After the dance JuliART and the dancers got off the stage. She chatted about the work with people who wanted to after that. Outside. She is as intimate as her work.
Watch some of JuliART’s work on her new YouTube channel!