What was the question?

Tattoos are a permanent etching on the skin – like a scar or a line – even if nowadays we can remove most things ‘inconvenient’ ( not without some kind of trace).

Today’s ‘modern’ society is one of impernamence – throw away – disposable. Most things are fleeting – the time mostly and interactions with everything. We want all fast and the ability to disguard. The free as in not tied to anything. A strange dichotomy beteeen owning all – freezing all in an “I” ( mine) something  and the disguarding when bored – not trendy – obsolete.  The fear behind : wait – think about it ( and trust me I waited – thought about it until the time , idea and  place was right) is the fear this commitment to action – indelible visible “in the open and in the skin”mark.

One question is recurrent : don’t you think about when you will be old and wrinkled with saggy skin? it will look awful! What a bizarre question. This is only valid if you think wrinkled is awfull – and in that case with or without tattoos it won’t change the deal much.

I wonder how in western culture this came to this dictatorship that wants women to erase the lines of time and turns those into “ugly lines”. That kind of fear – judgment – stress over appearances  i am not advocating not looking after ones health and self) is what creates the wrinkles in the soul – way more problematic than those of the skin which shape the character of a face and it’s story.

When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age. Victor Hugo

I recently met a young 28 year old woman in Amsterdam, Laura,  who told me she was very excited when she started having lines around  the eyes! to her it was a sign of looking more mature and she liked it. How refreshing!

“Whenever I go to New York or any European country, they say: ‘Nawal, why don’t you get a facelift?’ I tell them, ‘I am proud of my wrinkles. Every wrinkle on my face tells the story of my life. Why should I hide my age?’ Nawal El Saadawi
I recall my sister who I had not seen in a few years (!) and whose first reaction when we saw each other was ” oh my god you have lines on your forehead! ” Arf …..that’s all the thinking my head is doing….

Tattoos are meaningful acts – not for everyone but they are for me . The skin – is a canvas – inward and outward – covering the body. A body  that never lies – it will somatise when we are in denial or give us warnings signs if we fail to give it what it needs. As an artist it is a portal between the inner and the outside world  – the in between- and it is also the sensory landscape. It is  therefore totally natural and understandable that it is a canvas. Tattoos are another kind of line  “a living embroidery,” words of  different kind to tell  some kind of story – mark an event – a statement – or purely aesthetic.

 

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