Practicing, Supporting, and Highlighting Indigenous Tattoo Revival

Over the past three years I have been working on obtaining a masters degree in Interdisciplinary graduate studies with a specialization in Indigenous studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. As part of this project I have been working on a few different series of artworks that support the main question of how is a sleeping tattoo tradition awakened. The first series of work I am going to share with you come from a series that is comprised of Large scale oil paintings, 36 inches by 48 inches or larger. These paintings are split into three separate but connected bodies of work, first are the large red series of paintings that contain those who have inspired me in words, actions or being. These people I feel are my mentors, and have inspired me since I first began looking at the revival of Indigenous tattooing in 2010 and as I moved into the revival of my ancestral tattooing tradition.

In moving into the revival of Nlaka’pamux (Thompson Indian or Interior Salish) tattooing I did not have easily accessible people to help me on this journey, so I took inspiration from those who have done the work of revival in their nations. I read articles, watched television programs, documentaries, and books and listened carefully to what was being shared. Many of the people who inspired me in those early days have become my friends and colleagues, and it is this first series that I will be exploring with you as I continue to share my artistic creations with you.

Each week I will post a picture of one of my paintings and share how this person has inspired me and my work and share a bit of background into their work and practice.

This body of work is painted using reds, the reason I have decided to paint using reds is because I am using this as a way for me to more fully understand what red meant for my ancestors. For us red is a colour that represents goodness and it is a cooler that communicates friendship. I also using it to express a sense of life, hope, existence and moving towards a new day.

Next week I will explore the work of my friend Nahaan with you, here is the painting I did of him back before we had met in person.

nahaan-tlingit-tattoo-revival-web-version

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