THE BODY AS CANVAS

This project explores how the artistic practice of body painting can be utilized as a means to simulate the patient-doctor relationship. My paintbrush operates like a scalpel, paradoxically dissecting through the additive means of painting. I interview people about their lived experiences, and together we choose a site on their body, transforming it into a temporary canvas. This site maps their physiology and reveals symbolic imagery related to their visible and/or invisible identity that is linked to health, illness, or injury. 

© Savannah Mohacsi

"Confronting yourself in the mirror makes you really observe your quirks, your insecurities, the features that make you YOU."

Photoshop body paint arm.png

"In the cadaver lab, it is hard to wrap your mind around the fact that the tools your hands utilize to dissect can cut you as easily as  the cadaver. We are flesh, dead or alive." 

"My legs are the most important and visible part of my body for dance. Your legs essentially create the movement, but the way you train can be brutal."   

"[My rib] broke because of my pneumonia. Every time I coughed I had to hold them together to make sure they didn't jerk around. I had been coughing so hard."

"I had a lot of digestive issues. My stomach would flare up. It’s so painful, it’s like my insides are attacking themselves."  

"I have chronic kidney disease. I was in and out of children’s hospitals growing up. When I was little, I had urinary reflux.The infection got into my kidneys. [The doctors] showed me the scans. You can’t be in denial at all once something that you have has a name. It adds to the fear and adds to the seriousness of it."

"My face is resilient. My face, its shapes, its nuances, and the experiences of what happened to it are really tied to my culture."

"My birthmarks are idiosyncrasies, that can be pretty. All of them have shapes: a heart, a foot, or  Australia. It brings up the idea of being unique and different. It is something that is more positive."

"When I was younger, I scarred my legs all the time. There is a story behind each one. Each scar is related to a memory."

"My hands are super important to me.Before I was in the military, I didn't focus on my hands as much, but any task I'm doing now, I'm just very aware of it. My hands are tools."

Body Paint tongue.png

"In my mind, I never knew I had a speech problem until people pointed it out to me. Constantly people told me that they didn’t understand me. I would have the word in my head and it comes out completely wrong. It's like someone walking out the door and tripping. People would tell me to say it, and say it over, and over again, and break it down into pieces until I could get it."