Metamorphosis - Empowering Body Paint Project
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Cabasa will change the lives of peri and post natal women experiencing feelings of anxiety and isolation through through whole body painting

by cabasacarnivalarts in Mossley, England, United Kingdom

Metamorphosis explores the Carnival tradition of whole body painting as an empowering, transformative and life changing experience. This groundbreaking project will provide a once in a lifetime opportunity for women and artists to tell their stories through the unique art form, creating beautiful, thought provoking imagery.

Cabasa will change the lives of peri and post natal women experiencing feelings of anxiety and isolation through this artist led outreach and engagement project. An exciting team of emerging and established artists will be trained by high profile industry leaders, learning the incredible power of art as a catalyst for positive change.   


Cabasa bring people together to tell stunningly beautiful visual stories that celebrate human connectedness and our need to find meaning in our art form and life. We are inspired by traditional stories and processes, then re-imagine them to make them relevant now, producing large scale spectacular outdoor work which keeps the community at its heart.

Cabasa use arts and creativity as a vehicle to provide opportunities for people to learn new skills, develop high-quality work they feel proud of, and explore diverse traditions of community Carnival.


We will run a series of workshops in which 12 female established and emerging artists will work with 20 participants and internationally acclaimed Body Painter, Emma Cammack.

We will paint the women whilst pregnant and repaint the women after they have given birth with a hand painted giant silk butterfly, completing the metamorphosis.

Fashion and portrait photographer Alex Bramall will then photograph the women, producing stunning world class images of an unforgettable and empowering experience.

We will hold a celebratory exhibition of the images in Tameside, inviting families and the wider community to experience body painting and learn about the women's journeys.
 This will be accompanied by a tour of the exhibition across Greater Manchester and to Manchester city centre providing a platform and showcasing work created outside the city.

Alongside will be a symposium in which artists, GPs, researchers and other health care professionals will consider the role of body image and art in mental well-being.


Cabasa will work with local antenatal and new mums groups, local GPs and social prescribing teams for referrals of perinatal women. We will focus on those who may be experiencing issues around body image, social isolation, and poor mental health.

We will develop a training scheme for 12 female artists, with at least 6 being young aspiring creatives from low engaged areas of Tameside, Oldham and Greater Manchester, who are not currently working in the arts.

“This project has the potential to help women struggling with negative body image. I wholeheartedly support the project and would be happy to refer patients who might be interested in taking part”

- Dr Aisha Malik (Tameside GP)(MbChb, BSc, MRCGP).


Artists from diverse backgrounds, education and experience will get the opportunity to work with high profile artists to create beautiful art in areas where the arts are underrepresented. They will gain valuable experience shadowing industry leaders and opening connections in photography and body painting.

The art form of body painting exists as a Carnival practice all around the world as an expression of identity, losing inhibitions and embracing who you are.

We will explore how body painting can be used to create beautiful art whilst addressing mental well-being and healthy body image.

Pregnancy and birthing can leave mothers feeling vulnerable and scared, often leading to a loss of confidence and identity. Cabasa want to investigate using body painting as a way to improve self-esteem, and mental well-being during this time of immense change.

The final exhibition will be a powerful expression of how the arts can help to address the silence around mental health issues related to pregnancy and birthing. Presenting Carnival in a gallery setting will take it to new audiences and introduce more people to the beauty and impact it can have on mental health and social cohesion.

“Our bodies are almost like someone else’s body after pregnancy and birthing, it is hard to accept and you are a total stranger to your own body.”

- Veronika Bogumska (Body Painting Participant)



This is an opportunity for artists to use their art as a catalyst for positive change, as well as improve their skills around empathy and really consider the impact art can have on a person's well-being. We hope that the women and emerging artists involved in the process will become advocates for the principles of positive and healthy body image.

The early career artists will gain an invaluable set of skills and experiences, not only in Carnival arts and body painting, but in the exciting socially engaged practice that is becoming distinctive of Carnival. Cabasa will provide ongoing mentoring and signposting to help these early career artists broaden their networks.

The project will develop strong relationships between 20 vulnerable women with shared experiences and challenges. Lasting personal support networks will emerge within the group, and we’ll nurture these by offering a range of ongoing volunteering opportunities within Cabasa and other local arts groups. The project will provide an unforgettable, empowering and life changing experience for all the participants and artists involved.

“Art can help you cope with emotions, becoming art can help you inhabit and be empowered by them. Body painting has power as a source of healing and empowerment.”

- Emma Cammack (Body Painting Artist)

Images taken by: Christian Dyson
Artists: Lizzie Rigby & Kate Rothery
Live Canvas: Adriana Rosso


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£20 or more

Metamorphosis 2021 Calendar

At the end of the project we will release a calendar of the beautiful images that will have been created, if you pledge £20 we will send you your calendar in December 2020.

£50 or more

0 of 10 claimed

Body Painting Workshop

Learn how to body paint. If you pledge over £50 we'll arrange a workshop day in body painting. One of our expert artists will take you through the process of how to body paint in this one day workshop, with live subjects. Only 10 spots available (2 painters to one live canvas).

£500 or more

Full Body Paint Experience

Experience the power of body painting for yourself. You will be painted by one of our expert body painting artists and then have a photoshoot with a professional photographer. You'll then receive a full set of the images we took on the day.

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