Matthew Couper and Jo Russ:

We use the term ‘beauty’ in a broad sense. A number of works in this section depict body modification, such as tattooing and henna drawing. Body modification and decoration have been used in different cultures for a variety of reasons.

Tony de Lautour and Stephen Parkes focus on western-style tattoos. Tony uses corporate logos mixed with homemade tattoo symbolism. Victor Berezovsky uses very personal imagery for his body decoration. Victor not only makes paintings referencing henna and tattoo, he has actually painted henna images directly onto his own body and documented them. Nikolai Kokx has photographed one of his students, Wade, showing off his improvised contemporary tattoo.

Pussy Girl is a persona of a performance artist in the Wellington troupe ‘The Drag Kings’. Her character plays on the cute, kitten-like glamour-queen image popularized in the 1950s. In contrast, the women in Sue Soo’s paintings have an innocent charm. She paints idyllic scenes, peopled with fairytale-like characters. This prolific, eighty-year-old, self-taught artist works from a tiny flat in the Wellington suburbs.