A new show has kicked off at the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery.

Body Art: Living Art of Tattoo & Body Adornment runs until Aug. 1, and showcases the many ways that people use their bodies as a canvas for art with tattoos, hair and makeup, body painting, henna and more. 

Body art is perhaps the most personal form of expression, and may range in meaning from quick and fun, to complex and deeply meaningful.  

“It’s a ritual and it shows the development and journey through a person’s life,” said Arts Gallery Director Jano Howarth.

“It shows up in cultures all over the world, for all different reasons.” 

Howarth credits Arts Council President, Mischelle Pierce, with coming up with the idea, which will provide a lead-in for the Art of Clothing exhibit later this year. 

In the spirit of pursuing art, Howarth even took the plunge and got her first tattoos in the lead up to the Body Art show, working with Sin on Skin Tattoos artist Brian Wheeler. 

“I’m now tatted up, for art,” Howarth joked, noting that more and more people are choosing to ‘art up’ their bodies.  

“I think it’s really opened up. I think in some cultures it’s been going on forever, and I think in North America people really held back from that because it had certain symbolism that made people uncomfortable, or they didn’t want to jump into it. But now people are getting into it, and there’s a lot more of it now.”