You don’t often see a nipple out of place in Daegu. What a treat befell me on the first weekend of September, when my nude shoulders were the least of what attracted attention. Duryu Park was brimming with feathers, baubles, glitter and paint at the Daegu International Body Painting Festival.
It’s the “largest body painting event in the world”, attracting entries from around the globe and visitors from all over South Korea. Entrants compete for awards in three categories: Body Painting, Fantasy Make-up and Most Photogenic Model.
Interestingly, the best part of the fest happens way before the models take the stage. All preparation is done outside under designated tents, so festival-goers get a rare peek at the acute attention the craft requires. You can grab some candy floss, a glow stick, something greasy on a stick, and watch the models transform into living artworks. Daegu summers have a reputation for being hot and sticky, and frankly I was impressed that the models managed to keep cool enough to prevent the art streaming off their derrières.
Visitors could escape the heat by running through the water gun zone, in which little boys toting water guns were having the best day of their short lives. If that didn’t work, you could grab a beer and continue on the quest that brought most visitors to the fest – getting some great pics. Cameras outnumbered people, if you don’t count the ajummas and ajosshis sprawled out on shiny floor mats.