February 26, 2009
09-035

Kate Elliot
Communications Specialist

Body Image Exhibit Molds VSU

VALDOSTA - Casts of human figures of all shapes and sizes will be on display in the University Center lobby Tuesday, March 3, and Wednesday, March 4, as part of The Body Image Project - an exhibit that strives to present a healthy view of physical appearance and to challenge the belief that outer appearance defines self worth.

Larry Kirkwood, who founded The Body Image Project in 1993, will speak about his inspiration for creating this traveling art exhibit at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, in the UC Magnolia Room. The self-proclaimed feminist's message is clear: A consumer-driven culture has fed society's unhealthy views of body image, and people should be more conscious and critical of how the media and other influences shape notions of gender and beauty. Kirkwood, who has been quoted as saying, 'What is the point of having a beautifully wrapped gift if there's nothing inside?,' said the many shapes, sizes and stories of his casts are meant to encourage people to develop their own understanding of beauty.

"The notion that body size, skin color, age, etc. alone is a reliable measure of a person's physical, emotional, and moral well being is simply false," Kirkwood wrote on The Body Project Web site. "We need to be able to look at the human body and see 'shape' and 'form' and the resulting beauty that comes from their juxtaposition. To understand the real concept of 'beauty,' comparisons need to be seen within ourselves, not as opposed to someone else or an unrealistic image.'"

VSU's Health Promotions Office is sponsoring the presentation and exhibit. Health Educator Holly Wright said that the free event is an opportunity for people to see body image displayed in a unique and creative way in hopes that they will continue to learn to appreciate themselves as they are.

Go to www.kirkwoodstudios.com/ for more information about The Body Image Project, including pictures, a detailed description of the process, and a tour schedule.