Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Human Rainbow


On June 11th, one year after the horrific hate crime that took 49 lives at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, body painters gatherer at the Other Bar (18 Wall St, Orlando, Florida 32801) in Downtown Orlando to paint 49 models each a different color of the rainbow. The models each represented the lives lost last year during the Pulse Tragedy. The bar was packed and I had to sketch fast since, I had to get to the Shakespeare theater to see O-Town in which monologues based on interviews showed how local residents raised themselves up after the tragedy. 

Mandi Ilene Schiff of Base Orlando organized the event which was similar to a body painting event held last year. Each body painter was assigned a color and once a model was painted, another would quickly take their place. There was no time to waste when there were 49 bodies that needed to be covered in pigments. It was a triage of rainbow colors. After models were painted, they move to the other side of the bar where an impromptu rainbow dance party broke out. A body painter's shirt read, "We Are One."

Nix Herrera was painting blue people, and I focused my attention on the body painter in an American flag t-shirt that was painting her model orange. The body painter's husband watched me work and he was in charge of making sure models were lined up ready to be painted. With so much color and sensuality it was at times easy to forget the somber reason for the artistic effort. Outside the bar the 49 gathered and posed in line for the full effect of the 49 person rainbow as it illuminated the grey afternoon.

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