Earthline Tattoo: Aotearoa
Last November I travelled to New Zealand to attend the Maori Pacific and Global Indigenous Tattoo Festival (Indigenous Ink), it was an amazing trip that helped to open my eyes to an amazing community of Indigenous tattoo artists and cultural tattoo practitioners. I was the only Indigenous
person from Canada and one of two Indigenous peoples from Turtle Island to attend the event. This year I will be making the same trip to attend the Indigenous Ink Artist Sessions, a smaller version of the biennial Indigenous Ink tattoo festival. Terry Klavenes the organizer of the Indigenous Ink has worked very hard to ensure that these sessions will foster the same comradery that can be felt at the larger event. These session will provide an opportunity for all the internationally visiting tattoo artist the ability to visit, share, mentor and build each other up. For me the greatest value that came from my trip last year was meeting all of the new people and having the opportunity to make new friends and be built up by each and every artist in attendance. Terry said in an message to me that, “It will be a week of tattoo, artists talks and cross cultural connects between our visitors and local artists.”
This year the Earthline Tattoo Collective, which is a small dedicated group of Indigenous tattoo artists and cultural tattoo practitioners will be making the trip to New Zealand to participate in the Indigenous Ink Artist Sessions. Earthline tattoo is made of Jordan Bennett who is a Mi’kmaw visual artist and cultural tattoo practitioner from Stephenville Crossing, Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland), Canada. The second member of Earthline Tattoo is Amy Malbeuf who is a Cree/Métis visual artist and cultural tattoo practitioner from Rich Lake, Alberta, Canada. An the final member is me, Dion Kaszas a Nlaka’pamux tattoo artist, painter and cultural tattoo practitioner from Salmon Arm British Columbia, Canada who has been working on reviving Indigenous tattooing since 2012.
Our stated mandate as a collective is:
Earth Line Tattoo Collective aims to enhance, expand, and support the work of traditional and cultural Indigenous tattoo practices across Canada. The collective is comprised of a dedicated team of cultural tattoo practitioners and visual artists: Jordan Bennett (Mi’kmaq), Dion Kaszas (Nlaka’pamux), and Amy Malbeuf (Cree/Metis). Earthline is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our communities through training and adhering to the highest standards. We are committed to ensuring the cultural safety of individuals and communities we work with through research, collaboration, design development, and creating awareness of the cultural Indigenous tattoo practices of Turtle Island.
Our trip as a collective to New Zealand (Aotearoa) has been funded by the Canada Council of the Arts through the Aboriginal office, we as a collective are grateful for this support as we travel to Aotearoa in an effort to improve our practice as cultural tattoo practitioners. We applied for and received this funding through the Aboriginal Peoples Collaborative Exchange: International grant. My wife and I will be heading to New Zealand tomorrow the 25th of November and Jordan and Amy will join us two days later. We will be in Aotearoa until around the 10th.
Stay tuned as we make this journey I will be making posts every few days.