Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World & Tatau: Marks of Polynesia - Immigration Museum Melbourne
When : Ends 6th October
Tickets: Adult $15.00 (covers all open exhibitions) Children Free
How do you feel about Tattoos? Personally, I like them a lot – on other people. It’s art on your body, that goes everywhere you do. Its graphic design that stays with you. It shows the world what your ‘style’ is, and what you find appealing. I’m just too scared to get one myself. It is not the pain…. What if I change my mind? What if the Babushka doll or Bauhaus design I would get today isn’t what I will want in 10 years?
Despite my own personal yes / no tattoo conundrum, I most definitely enjoy looking at other people's tattoos so off I went to Our Bodies, Our Voices, Our Marks group of exhibitions at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne. I had 20 minutes for both exhibitions. This is what I saw and felt.
Tatau: Marks of Polynesia
Immediately upon entering the exhibition, beautiful music drifts around you and you are transported. Your eyes are immediately drawn to walls covered in the most sublime photography. Dozens of portraits of tattoed people line the walls - each showing, in great detail, the art form that is tatau.
Several sections of the exhibition are dedicated to explaining the traditional tools and methods used in tatau, however it is the quotes that are sprinkled around the exhibitions, that for me, helped me have a greater insite into the meaning of tatau.
‘ It’s not about being a tattooist. It’s not just a tattoo. Whenever I talk about tattoo, I talk about my family; I talk about my life. It’s a lifestyle and it’s cultural. I would give my life for it. ‘
Su’a Sulu’ape Peter
Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World
A photographic exhibition by Kip Fulbeck and Takahiro Kitamura
When I was heading out of the Museum, I was asked to answer a questionnaire. ‘What did I enjoy the most about the Japanese Tattoo exhibition?’ I was asked. ‘The colours’ I answered without delay. The colours’. Such a wonderful, in-depth exploration of traditional Japanese art, colour and motifs, all tied together by the tattooing art form. Once again, the photography was breathtaking and if you have more time for your visit than I did, there was a video that explored the inspiration behind the exhibition.
As far as my own tattoo conundrum goes, the jury is still out. I’m still undecided, and it may remain unresolved for some time. Perhaps, the difference lies in a tattoo having a deep cultural connection as opposed to a tattoo ‘I like the look of’. I’ll get back to you………………