The four artists in Body Armor—Maryam Hoseini, Zadie Xa, Delilah Montoya, and Ana Pellicer—present approaches to bodily adornment in contemporary life, placing focus on the garments and objects we wear to signal belonging, confer status, or project strength. Wearable ornaments have distinguished their owners for centuries across global cultures, embellishing appearance, granting access, and enhancing power. These distinctive markers allow individuals to move fluidly through a range of identities, operating as instruments of social influence that participate in a shared cultural language predicated on existing hierarchies and stereotypes.
Body Armor reimagines these adornments, and critiques the traditional, often colonial, contexts in which they are deployed. Pushing the boundaries of how we construe femininity across a range of cultures, geographies, and generations, these four artists trace the various ways these symbols work both in public and private space to define features of our cultural life, sense of self, social rankings, and communities.