Dear Body is a unique digital collaboration between Chats Palace Hackney, Anna Furse, Artistic Director of the innovative theatre company Athletes of the Heart, and Nina Klaff, a designer and artist. Dear Body is an online artwork project designed to promote mental wellbeing and positive body image at a time of unprecedented change, isolation and altered mental and physical states for swathes of the global population. Simple to engage with, it invites members of the public to become part of a virtual community of voices, collected into an interactive virtual gallery. Through sharing honest body image messages our hope is that we may contribute to the self-care many are needing during the pandemic. Social distancing has meant that we spend more time on screens than normal socialising alongside others. All too frequently the result has been a general decline in mental wellbeing and fitness, with a reported increase in eating and body image disorders. Dear Body offers a simple, enjoyable and creative way to turn anxiety about our bodies into positive, self-affirmative action.
Dear Body generates contributions through online workshops. These are offered free of charge to groups and individuals. Workshops for all ages and abilities introduce a relaxing and enjoyable way of working with, through and from the body. Inspired by the Blason – a Renaissance poetic form in which the smallest body part such as an eyebrow or earlobe is praised by the poet - participants are encouraged to convert negative self-image into liberating selfie-eulogy. Workshops have proved very successful with arts and health workers, students, medics and artists. They are now being offered widely to generate individual pieces that will become part of a growing online artwork: Dear Body. Contributions might include a photograph or drawing with/without recorded voiceover, or a short piece of writing. The gathered content will be edited into an expanding immersive digital gallery experience, a global artwork of image and sound that speaks of many bodies in this time of crisis. Anonymity will be guaranteed.
Dear Body is funded by Arts Council England.