The Sydney Body Art Ride
is a community-driven art event which raises funds for children's cancer research
while promoting healthy sustainable living
. It is held annually in the middle of February in Sydney, Australia
Volunteer participants create an ephemeral moving artwork called "The Human Rainbow." which consists of hundreds of painted cyclists riding in groups to form a rainbow that travels through the city to a beach. At the beach the riders march into the sea and wash off the (biodegradable) paint.
The meaning of the artwork is "Hope" which is expressed by individual riders using their personal community networks to raise funds for Children's Cancer Research. 100% of money raised is donated to the Children's Cancer Institute of Australia. The procession also expresses the communities support for the measures City of Sydney Council has undertaken to provide alternative options for the city's commuters.
Sydney Body Art Ride is a highlight of the New Mardi Gras Arts festival and attracts visitors from interstate and all over the world. The event is supported and endorsed by a large number of important Sydney identities including the Lord Mayor and other celebrities. The event is a-political and has the support of people from all sides of the political spectrum.
This project gives ordinary members of the community a chance to be part of a unique artistic event. The community creates the artwork itself using their own bodies as the canvas. An annual photographic exhibition is held at the Pine Street Creative Art Centre to showcase the best photographs of the event.
Each rider is sponsored by family and friends and a prize is awarded to the person who raises the highest amount. A $2 or more donation is also collected from all participants. All of this money goes to the Children's Cancer Institute of Australia. Funding for expenses associated with the ride comes from City Council grants and the sale of photographs at the exhibition. The event has raised more than $20,000 for the Children's Cancer Institute of Australia.
The Sydney Body Art Ride holds two World records: largest group of fully painted people and largest group of painted people on bicycles.