Indigenous Ink 2015
Nathan Guest blog post:
This tattoo festival brought together some of the most outstanding indigenous tattoo artists from around the world. The festival reunited old ancestral ties between the pacific rim cultures as well as interior tribes. The festival was a rare and fantastic platform for indigenous tattoo revivals to be recognized and encouraged out of the history books they previously had been kept in. The unification of like spirited tattooers from around the world lifted our morale and raised the standard of what tattoo festivals should look like.
There was a presence of familial love and sharing which created a sense of sacredness that lacks in the larger group of modern day tattoo culture. Our generous and hospitable host Terry Klavenes was organized and seamlessly brought ceremonial protocol into the MIT Marae we were hosted in. There were many key players from different communities that contributed to the positive vibration that emulated throughout the conference. There are far too few places internationally that are Indigenized and create a solid sense of belonging for our people and Indigenous Ink Fest is one of those few. During the fest, techniques, styles, traditional languages, songs, and protocols are shared. These processes build community and better the mental health of our people through the use of our cultural practices, stories and worldviews. There is a philosophy that is held by each practitioner which stems from generations and generations of powerful oral history, wisdom and experience. The quantifiable betterments of participants can be found in the smiles of those who attended and through the transformation tales they now share. Intergenerational healing also takes place as our older generations see their descendants pride and new found motivations that involve their hereditary indigenous culture in the present day. By tattooing our traditions we are helping to revitalize integral parts of our cultures that were shamed out of our lives by colonizer newcomers. By investing in our culture through tattooing and use of customary tools we are breathing life back into the very same process, feelings, and environmental inter-connectedness that our ancestors thrived in. There is a great need for Indigenous people to feel comfortable with their traditional practices as an every day remedy for the negative affects of colonization that echo onto future generations.
Some of the work done while at the festival: