Posts Tagged ‘tattoos’

person with rainbow face paint, rainbow rimmed sunglasses and a rainbow flag draped over her back

It’s Pride weekend here in Toronto with its many activities including the usual parades.  Yesterday was the Dyke March.

people walking in the dyke march, colourful clothes, floral shorts, polka dot top, sailor hat, flags, beads,

a woman is on another person's shoulders so she's above the crowd walking in the dyke march. She is holding a sign that says happy pride

a mother leans over her young daughter who is sitting in front of her on a bike, Small rainbow flag is on the handlebars

below: As in previous year, the motorcyclists led the parade.

dykes on bikes motorcyclists at the start of the parade, dyke march, at Yonge and Bloor

a small white dog with a little hat on its head, head resting on person's shoulder.

leather pants and belt, with a person's hand on bum (with black fingernails). harness on top with nothing under it, partially bare back

waiting for the dyke march to begin, two people by their motorcycle, one is in leather shorts and has angel wings made of rainbow coloured feathers

laughing women holding up a banner in support of trans people

people walking in the dyke march. one is holding a young girl who is wearing a pink dress, one is bare breasted

torso from the side of a person in a lacy black bra with a large tattoo on upper and lower arm. Upper arm tattoo is a woman's head with the words live deliciously written under it

a volunteer wearing a yellow tshirt stands in the middle of yonge street facing the dyke march parade that has stopped just up the street, people are lining the sidewalks to watch the march

a woman drummer, She is wearing a tshirt that says no a la homofobia. walking in dyke march

a muslim woman in a black head scarf takes pictures on her phone at a dyke march. a woman in a bikini top is clapping as she walks toward the camera

dykes on bikes stop in the parade for a photo op. one woman is topless with a bicycle painted on her chest.

a young woman in the dyke marching is holding up a sign that says Humber, we are proud

two women, in profile, watching the dyke march on yonge street, pink sunglasses

long haired woman holding rainbow flag, wearing sunglasses

a middel aged man in a tie dyed shirt with a big happy face in the middle of it, stands by a police car as he watches the dyke march

a group of people sittingo n the sidewalk on Yonge street as they watch the Dyke March. One woman is topless, two women are on cellphones

people on roller blades at the start of the dyke march. a woman holds a sign that says my pride includes the police

a woman in rainbow scarf, and police hat, holds a sign that says thanks first responders

women in a dyke march, one is holding a sign that says kittens against trump

three women walking together in the dyke march

a young man with a flower garland in his hair (paper flowers)

a couple - one is a purple wig and sunglasses and the other in a straw hat with sparkles glued to her face in the shape of a thin beard

There are seven or eight large photographs, portraits of older women, on University Avenue.   They were actually part of the CONTACT Photography Festival and they have been on display outside the Royal Ontario Museum since early May.  The photos are the ‘The Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga”, portraits by Jake Verzosa.

large black and white photo of an older woman with many tattoos, black and white, displayed outside, another portrait in the background

In the villages of the Cordillera mountains of northern Philippines the women have been tattooed with lace-like patterns for centuries.  The tattoos are symbols of stature, beauty, wealth and fortitude and are traditionally applied during rituals.  The tradition is dying out as standards of beauty change and as the old ways are replaced with more modern methods.

Each village once had their own tattooist, or mambabatok, but today only one remains.  Born in 1918, Whang-od (or Fhang-od), is the last person to practice the centuries old technique called batok.  The ink is made of charcoal and water and it is applied by tapping the skin with a thorn.

two older women with their shoulders tattooed, wearing necklaces and a patterned skirt, seated. Black and white

Once the men were also tattooed.  The Kalinga tattoo has evolved from their ancient tradition as warriors and headhunters.  Heads were taken from fights and battles as a trophy; each time a man brought home a head he would receive another tattoo as a reward.  Tattoos were a mark of social status.

Indigenous groups throughout the Philippines practiced tattooing for centuries.   When the Spanish arrived in the 1500’s they called the people ‘pintados’ or ‘painted people’ as it was not uncommon for people to have tattoos covering their whole body.  While some tribes used tattoos to mark status, other tribes believed that tattoos possessed special spiritual or magical powers which gave the individuals strength and protection.  The use of tattoos as protective symbols is an idea that occurs in many cultures.

large black and white photo of an older woman with many tattoos, black and white, displayed outside, another portrait in the background

In conjunction with the Kalinga portraits, the ROM is featuring an exhibit that examines the beliefs surrounding tattoos, and the role that they and other forms of body art play in different cultures over the years.  “Tattoos: Ritual, Identity, Obsession, Art” is on view until September 5th.  It is a global tour of tattoos past and present.

One of the cultures that is featured is the Chinese.  For centuries, tattoos were forbidden, or at least taboo, in China.  To be tattooed was to be discriminated against as they were associated with prisoners or vagrants.  Recently that has begun to change.

below: Three large modern picture tattoos by Taiwanese tattoo artist Gao Bin featuring traditional Chinese images, Buddha, lion and dragon.  Tattoos as a cultural expression.  In some countries such as Sri Lanka and Thailand images of Buddha are considered sacred objects of worship.  While it’s not illegal to have such a tattoo, wearing one could get you into trouble.

Three pictures of the backsides of men, each with a large picture tattoo from neck to thigh. Chinese art pictures as tattoos

below:  Here is another example of why people get the tattoos that they do.  This is a picture of one photograph in a series by Isabel Munoz.  Munoz spent three weeks inside several prisons in El Salvador and photographed mara gangs.  Gang members wear offensive tattoos to assert their antisocial behaviour and express their loyalty to the gangs.  Tattoos as statement; tattoos as a mark of membership and belonging.  Tribal.

photo of a picture in a museum of a man's face that has been tattooed with gang symbols and words,

below: A silicone arm with a tattoo by Montreal artist Yann Black on display.  This is one of 13 commissioned tattoos on silicone body parts – arms, legs and torsos both male and female that are part of the exhibit.   Tattoos as artwork.  Individuality.

a silicone arm has been tattooed with a design that looks something like a cross between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mondrian. It is in a glass showcase in a museum.

The oldest known tattoos were found on Otzi the Iceman, a natural mummy who was found in the Otzal alps near the Austria – Italy border in 1991.  His tattoos were 61 lines ranging in length between 7 and 40 mm.  The lines were arranged in groups.  Most of his tattoos were on his legs where there were 12 groups of lines.  Otzi is estimated to have died between 3239 BC and 3105 BC.

Tattooed mummies have also been found in other places – Greenland, Alaska, Siberia, Mongolia, western China, Egypt, Sudan, the Philippines, and the Andes in South America.  We will probably never know what significance the tattoos had.  Theories abound of course and they often involve reasons like protection, spiritual, status, tribal, or just for decoration.  Reasons that probably ring true today too.  The methods have changed and some of the images have changed, but human nature remains just that, human nature.

 

 

Stand Together,
a mural on Richmond St. East between Church and Jarvis streets.

Stand Together mural on Richmond Street, it is the back of a building as well as the back wall of a parking lot.  Four cars are parked in front of the mural which is 4 large arms and hands.  Together the hands are holding a city that is under a rainbow.

Painted by Spud, 2014

Far right side of mural, behind a low fence, bright green background with a long arm reaching across the photo.  A small tree stands in the corner of the parking lot, on the far right of this picture.  An apartment building is behind.  Spud bomb logo in the bottom right,  Center part of mural showing a city in 3D under a rainbow, on an orange background, and being held up by four large hands. The center part of the mural is a little 3D Toronto under a rainbow.
The CN Tower is there as well as a few cranes.  Perhaps you recognize other buildings?
It even has a painting of the mural in it!

Part of a mural showing wrists of two arms.  The upper arm is tattooed in black ink and the tattoo includes the word SPUD..  The bottom wrist is wearing a large blue bracelet.  The background is bright green and orange.

The whole mural from a close up angle, looking along the mural from right to left.

Toronto is undergoing a massive amount of redevelopment these days.  When I walk around this city I see older buildings that I often wonder about – are they going to still be around in 2 years?  5 years?
….that is what happened yesterday when I was on Yonge St. between Bloor and College.  I took a few pictures, just in case these buildings disappear in the near future.

row of three storey buildings on Yonge St.  Brick buildings with storefronts on the ground floor.

Looking south (and a bit west) from just below Bloor Street.

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At the intersection of Yonge & Wellesley.

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We’ll see what happens in the next few years!