Written and directed by Angie-Pepper O'Bomsawin. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Stephanie Big Eagle grew up astray from her identity. She reconnected with her culture when she rekindled relationships in her home community, the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. She immersed herself in the fight for aboriginal rights and became a prominent figure in the Dakota pipeline protests, where her thunder hawk hand poke design became a symbol of the standoff. Stephanie found her calling as an environmental and Indigenous activist and full-time hand poke tattoo artist. She sees the revitalization of hand poke as a gift to be offered with love, gratitude, and respect, particularly for the ancestors.
Written and directed by Randy Kelly. Mo Naga is a traditional tattoo artist from Manipur, in the lush North East Region of India on the Myanmar border. While studying fashion design in his early 20s, Mo Naga stumbled across some interesting Naga textile designs and quickly realized their cultural importance. He gradually started researching, archiving and preserving them. His creativity and love for tattoos led him to create a neo-Naga style of design. Mo Naga now works diligently from his New Delhi tattoo studio reviving the traditional Naga tattoo culture of his people and the whole North East Region of India.
Written and directed by Randy Kelly. The Paiwan people are one of about 20 Indigenous minorities who make up roughly 3 percent of the population of Taiwan. When Cudjuy Patjidres discovered that his Paiwanese ancestors had a tattoo culture, he was surprised and amazed. Having developed his artistic skills from watching his grandfather weave and carve wood, he is now dedicated to preserving the ancient symbols and designs that were once common on the island.
Written and directed by Roxann Whitebean. Isaac Murdoch and Christi Belcourt founded the Onaman Collective, which represents a group of multidisciplinary artists who focus on land-based decolonization. They established a new traditional community called Nimkii Aazhibikong in Northern Ontario. Under the guidance of elders, they studied ancient markings from the past and are carrying them forward by tattooing individuals from various nations to unify the Indigenous peoples of the land.
Written and directed by Angie-Pepper O'Bomsawin. Julie Paama-Pengelly is a veteran in the revitalization of ta moko Maori tattooing. Her studio in Mount Maunganui mixes contemporary and traditional designs and cultivates artists from all walks of life. With twenty years teaching experience, her art practice ranges from the use of symbolic imagery to pure abstraction in graphic design, painting, mixed media, and tattooing. Over time many misconceptions have surfaced about who has the right to wear and practice t? moko. Julie is one of the first women to practice in the male-dominated field. She is a strong voice for Maori women's rights and continues to break down barriers to give women a place in t? moko and in the arts.
Written and directed by Angie-Pepper O'Bomsawin. Pip Hartley is on a mission to infuse Auckland's city core with as much Maori culture as possible. From her Karanaga Ink studio, she practices traditional and contemporary Maori tattooing, ta moko. Although her approach is always guided in Maori style, it is a dance between artist and receiver in telling a story that will become permanent. Pip embraces the power of artistic expression to inspire and educate. Karanaga Ink has become one of Auckland's most respected Maori businesses in a very influential part of New Zealand. Pip takes every opportunity to educate, include and invite the modern world to step into Maori culture and gain a better first-hand understanding of her people.
Written and directed by Jason Brennan. Northern Canada is home to the oldest tattooing traditions on the planet. Ippiksaut Friesen, a well-known young Inuk artist, was inspired to follow the many Inuit women before her and develop tattooing skills for her sisters. Notwithstanding the challenges in maintaining and reclaiming Inuit traditions in a world strongly affected by contemporary society and climate change, the importance of female tattooing among Inuit women continues to grow. Ippiksaut hopes to play a vital role in the resurgence of traditional tattooing.
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