Whether you’re fascinated by body art or simply curious about the culture behind ink, the Royal Ontario Museum’s Tattoos exhibition may be worth a visit. Although the ROM temporary exhibit launched back in April, it officially draws to a close on September 5. The Toronto installation has made its way from the musée du quai Branly in Paris.
Exploring themes of ritual, identity and self-expression, Tattoos takes an artistic look at the often controversial world of tattooing. The exhibition delves into the historical significance of tattoos, which have developed from tribal markings to modern day artistic decorations.
Although tattoos were first popularized by sailors, they also evolved and were inspired as a result of Japanese irezumi (or traditional tattoo art). While the exhibit claims that Asian cultures shifted away from tattooing in the 19th century, tattoos slowly grew in popularity and later became accepted across the world.
Tattoos takes a look at the significance of ink in various communities, including Mexican-American culture and present day China. For those who are passionate about tattooing as an alternative art form, this cultural exhibit can help to inform you about the back story behind permanent ink.
Photo: Tattooed design on a women’s torso. Silicone. © Tin-Tin. France, 2013. Image: © Musée du quai Branly, photo Thomas Duval.