Painting the Body of a Carnival Model

Body painting is quite the fashion during carnival. With the queens, muses and samba dancers indicating that an absolute minimum of clothing is the best for a parade, body painting is in.
It all started more or less with Viviane Castra in 2009 parading with samba school X-9 Paulistina, who brought the image of the Amazon to São Paulo. With a tapa-sexo (a 2×3 cm piece of tape covering her female genitals) and only body painting, she conquered the carnival world of Brazil.

Viviana Castra in the parade of samba school X-9 Paulistina in 2009 -photo Sebastião Moreira-EFE

Viviane Castro paraded nearly nude only with U.S. President Barack Obama’s portrait on her body, painted on her left thigh, while then Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s face was painted on her right thigh.
Artist Betto Almeida, who says he has, for more than 12 years, been brushing, dripping and spraying paint on some of the most beautiful bodies Brazil’s Carnival has displayed, did Viviane’s paint job.

This combination of an exhibition of art and sex set off many a samba dancer, queen and muse to imitate Viviane’s idea and let paint their bodies to attract the revellers during carnival. It is not surprising that in 2012 body painting is the main ‘clothing’ carnival queens are wearing.

In the parade of beautiful women of the special samba schools who passed through the Sambódrome in Anhembi of São Paulo on the first night, Juju Salimeni was the one that most caught the public attention. The model showed just a tapa-sexo and some feathers. The rest of the costume was the very model of her naked body, painted with elements related to Pomba-Gira, In Umbanda and Quimbanda in Brazil, Pomba-Gira is viewed as the consort of Exu, who is the messenger of the Orixas in Candomblé.

The paintings on Juju’s body were designed by plastic artist W. Verissimo. The work took about two hours to make and was completed just before the samba school of Juju, Mancha Verde, had to enter the avenue, at about 6am on Saturday (18).

This was the second time Juju Salimeni featured in the carnival parade. Last year, she also paraded for Mancha Verde and opted for a naked body, only painted with shades related to the plot of the samba school connected. “Last year I was the queen of water. This year I am the Pomba-Gira”.

For the artist W. Verissimo, who always signs the body of the model after his work is finished, just like a work of traditional art, the challenge of this type of work is analysing the plot of the samba school before creating the design itself.

“In the case of Juju, I’ll paint a lot of flames on her body. These are elements that refer to Maria Padilha, the Pomba-Gira”, he said while painting.

Photos courtesy: Caio Kenji/G1