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Samoa Through The Lens Part 3: Samoa Ink (Tattoos)
Coming from Sydney Tattoos are quite popular. Everyone these days seems to have one, or two, or eight. It just seems to be one of those things that is very popular right now. So seeing body art is nothing new to me.
In Samoa, i was astounded. Every person i saw, male and female, old and young (not too young) All had some form of tattoo. And from what i could tell it wasn’t to look cool, or to show off, there were barely colours or designs like skulls and dragons. The tattoos on the Samoan people was much more than body art. It was apart of them, a way of life.
Digging further i stumbled upon a tattoo parlour, intrigued as to see the differences in how Samoan tattoos are created i was quite surprised to see not many differences at all. Techniques, equipment, fan in the face. It was all so similar. The only thing i noticed really was the style of tattoo.
After A few hours in the parlour the artist brought to my attention traditional tattoos. A piece of Samoan history, i was excited to learn more about these and he said i was in luck because down at the harbour, where the festival was taking place, A traditional tattoo space had been set up.
I rushed down and found the little hut like construction where it was happening. In all my excitement i rushed in and made EVERY mistake in the book. I had left my shoes on, my hat on, i was not sitting and pulled out my camera like a true tourist.
Yet each day i came back, even if i wasn’t allowed to film i was entranced by how the tattoos were done. After a few days of sitting in silence watching they allowed me to film. I learned so much from these guys and especially from Mike (the hawaii local getting the tattoo) I would write it all down but i’d prefer this space be about my experience, if you are as interested in the tattoo (tatau’s) as i was look into them , they are truly fascinating.
These guys that i sat with for days were amazing, they’re hospitality was incredible, they bought me food, a few beers and shared stories of living overseas and combined experiences. I think more than learning about tattoos, at this place i learned about true Samoan hospitality, and for someone who was so far away from home, i really felt more at home than i had in a while…