Living Connections, Yupik Tattooing Today
I previously posted an article about the story of Yaari Kingeekuk a Yupik artist who lives and works in Alaska as a cultural teacher and educator, and who is embodying her culture with traditional tattoos. I have gained her permission to post a few photos of her. Another Indigenous person in the process engaging the hegemonic ideal of beauty by tattooing the face. As I was looking over the pictures I have been able to acquire, both historical and contemporary of Indigenous people with facial tattoos I am struck by the beauty that is Indigenous facial tattooing. I know it doesn’t really fit into the mainstream conception of beauty, because it seems the face is the last holy place when it comes to contemporary tattooing. But if you get the chance look over the pictures and admire the beauty that is embodied in them.
Yaari’s tattoos are evidence that the process of colonization has failed, her life as a proud Yupik woman is evidence that Yupik people are here and here to stay.
This final photograph I believe tells the whole story of why Revival of Indigenous tattooing is so important, for me that is the future generations. As the comment was made on Yaari’s facebook page, this photo tells the story of the comfort of being craddeled in the hands of tradition.