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Maori Tattoo Traditions
Earlier today, Total Tattoo magazine shared a link on Facebook to an interesting BBC article, which I wanted to pass along to you as well.
"The rise of the Maori tribal tattoo" written by Dr. Ngahuia Te Awekotuku begins with somewhat of a primer on Maori tattoo traditions, briefly discussing the history of Moko, its practice and symbolism. She then discusses her own experience as a Maori woman taking on the facial Moko in commemoration of the life of Te Arikinui Dame te Atairangikaahu, "the Maori Queen," who died in 2006.
As in a lot of discussions on indigenous tattooing, she briefly addresses the issue of cultural appropriation of Moko. Here's a bit of that:
Moko, most of all, is about life. It is about beauty and glamour, and its appearance on the bodies of musicians such as Robbie Williams and Ben Harper is not unusual. Although it is often contentious, raising issues of cultural appropriation, and ignorant use of traditional art as fashion.
However we must also acknowledge that Maori artists are sharing this art - they are marking the foreign bodies.
The important reality remains - it is ours. It is about beauty, and desire, about identity and belonging. It is about us, the Maori people.
Tattoo events are taking place every thirty seconds throughout the summer, from New Jersey to Taiwan. Here's our pick list for the next few months to get you planning your own tattoo tour.
This weekend, June 11-13th, at the Ink-n-Iron show, custom cars, pin-up girls, Rockabilly bands, and top tattooists converge around and aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. I've been following the road trips of artists and vendors on Twitter as they make their way over for the seventh year of this sleep-less event. Too much to do there: live shows, the International Pole Performer Showcase, the Pin-Up Pageant, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, hot rod and kustom car contests, and of course, you could get tattooed by these excellent artists. Check the photos from previous shows, like the one above, on this page.
I noticed a few of my faves weren't going to be at Ink-n-Iron this weekend but instead are working the Krakow Tattoo Fest in Poland--artists like Robert Hernandez, Victor Portugal, Zsolt Sarkozi and even Jeremiah Barba will be there (and not in his Long Beach homebase--I also think Slayer has something to do with this).
Next weekend, June 18-20, artists will also be divided among two popular shows, Northern Ink Xposure (NIX) in Toronto, Canada and the Evian Tattoo Show in France. The longstanding NIX show will host seminars, Art Fusion and a fine art gallery, among the mix of tattoo goodness. On Thursday before the convention kicks off, there will be a silent auction benefit for Skate4Cancer where tattoo artists donated custom painted skate decks for the charity.
I'm a little bummed that I won't be able to make it to the Evian Fest as it's the last show in this beautiful city. Gene Coffey of Tattoo Culture offered his thoughts on last year's show here (from friendly crowds to dapper mustaches.) He also took some photos, including this one below of a tattoo he did there. The client wanted Gene to tattoo the words "Bonjour Mademoiselle" but in the way he thought it would be spelled. Gene has never taken a French lesson. Obviously.So, remember the Pint Size Paintings exhibit I've been talking about, which launched at Hell City Killumbus? Well, the show is coming to NYC's Sacred Gallery but for one night only, July 9th. Don't miss it!
Alas, I will miss it myself because Brian and I will be in County Cork, Ireland, July 10 & 11, for The Traditional Tattoo and World Culture Festival. I am so excited for this! It's going to be a small gathering, in Cobh, of artists and collectors who love traditional tattoo--not in the Americana sense, but the tribal. For me, it's really a family reunion with Colin Dale and Xed Le head, who were featured in my Black Tattoo Art book, and a chance to hang out once again with the audacious Pat Fish, Queen of Celt. If you're looking for a tattoo vacation in a sea-side town with a bunch of beautiful freaks, please join us.
July 30 through August 1st, Asbury Park, New Jersey will be home to the Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival. I usually don't list first conventions because most have a rough start but when I saw the artist roster, I had to include it. It's another beachfront party--albeit a bigger one--with live painting, music and sideshow performances. We'll be there handing out Needles and Sins swag so look down. I'm short.