Entertainment: Second season of SKINDIGENOUS explores Indigenous tattooing traditions around the world

Nish Media launches the 2nd season of its 13-episode documentary series Skindigenous, which explores Indigenous tattooing traditions around the world. The English version premieres Tuesday, January 21st at 8:30pm on APTN.

Skindigenous 2 explores Indigenous tattooing traditions around the world from Canada to the US through Asia, Africa and Europe to New Zealand. Each episode dives into a unique Indigenous culture to discover the tools and techniques, the symbols and traditions that shape their tattooing art. In this series, the art of tattoo becomes a lens for exploring some of the planet’s oldest cultures and their unique perspectives on life, identity, and the natural world. Among ancient cultures, tattooing was only practiced by those with special standing in the community. Today, modern day tattoo artists use their art to re-connect with the heritage of their ancestors and to ensure that their stories are not lost. The series celebrates both ancient and modern tattooing techniques. Many are reviving or assuring the continuation of traditional techniques such as skin stitch or hand poke. Others aim to introduce their culture to the people around them.

Skindigenous 2 visits tattoo artists in LeBret, Sask., Kahnawake, Que., Nimkii, Northern Ontario, Haida Gwaii, B.C., Iqaluit, Nunavut, New Mexico, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, India, Taiwan, Tunisia and New Zealand. Here are a few examples of the artists being profiled:

Kanen'tó:kon Hemlock from Kahnawà:ke, Que. has been helping to revive tattooing traditions that were lost as a result of colonization. In the first episode of the series, he invites us to witness the first tattooing in a longhouse in roughly 300 years.

Stephanie Big Eagle of New Mexico is a traditional hand poke tattoo artist, who weaves Indigenous activism into her designs and became a prominent figure in the Dakota pipeline protests, where her thunder hawk hand poke design became a symbol of the standoff.

Métis artist Audie Murray grew up in Regina and Lebret, Sask. She works closely with traditional Cree tattoos and Michif visual culture and uses both hand poke and skin stitching methods.

The accompanying Skindigenous app on the series website gives Indigenous tattoo artists from around the world a forum to record and view their tattoo art.

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