After reading this short article and video put out by Newshub I am reminded of how important the work of revival by the Maori of Aotearoa (New Zealand) has been in my own life and work in the revival of Nlaka’pamux tattooing. The work of revival of Moko by the Maori was key as I begin to envision a time when our people embodied our culture in the same way the Maori have and do.
Week One of the Earth Line Tattoo Training Residency Part 1
The first two weeks of the Earth Line Tattoo Training Residency have been absolutely mind blowing as I have been able to hear the stories of the artists in attendance Dean Hunt, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Amy Malbeuf and Jordan Bennett. These two blog posts will contain a run down of the activities and some of the lessons learned and shared over the first week and another to follow outlining the second week.
The Earth Line Tattoo Training Residency is happening as part of and running concurrently with the The Summer Indigenous Art Intensive Program which is coordinated by the Creative Studies Department at the the University of British Columbia Okanagan. It is an amazing program and this year is hosting “a core group of senior artists: Rebecca Belmore, Lori Blondeau, David Garneau, and Adrian Stimson. It will also include upward of 20 visiting studio artists in residence.”
This was only the first time we visited Gordon at his shop the second time was with the gracious organizer extraordinaire of Indigenous Ink Terry Klavenes a Tongan tattoo artists who is working at bringing the motifs and designs from his Tongan heritage into his tattoo work.
During our second visit we happened to be there during the raising of Gordon’s new sign outside of his shop, which warranted an impromptu celebration that included some of New Zealand seafood. One of these “delicacies” is Kina, which are sea urchin eggs, I tried them once and that will be the only time I put these in my mouth. After trying a few of the things offered I thoroughly enjoyed my order of fish and chips.
This is a Music video which tells the story of one Moko wearer, it feature Maori Tattoo Artist Turumakina Duleyz. This video speaks to one of the reasons I am so passionate about the revival of my cultural tattooing practices, and one of the reasons I think it is so important for Indigenous youth and our struggle for identity in this world of fluid fads and fashions. My passion comes from the loss of a dear young friend of mine, a young man with so much life and so much to live for, but he decided it was time to leave this plain of existence and took his life into his own hands. Suicide is such a problem for our peoples globally and especially the youth, I am just trying to do something for the people to be, something that may help cement them into their culture and their life.
Watch this video its inspiring, because it speaks to my heart, and encourages me to continue my struggle to make a difference.
Ever since the first time I seen Maori style tattoos I feel in love with them, I can’t remember where or when but they have always fascinated me. Actually the little booklet that I found in the local tattoo shop about my ancestors tattoos was found when i went in to get my Maori inspired tattoo which occupies my right arm.
In the Hangover Part 2 one of the main characters Stu wakes up with a tattoo on his face resembling the one on the face of Ex Boxing Champ Mike Tyson. The American tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill claimed that the tattoo presented in the movie was so close to the one he tattooed on Tyson that it was an infringement of Intellectual property rights. I believe there is certainly some issues that need to be resolved around Intellectual property rights involving modern tattooing practices, but I believe the issues get a little bit more difficult when it come to the tattooing practices of Indigenous peoples and cultures.