powers

SKINDIGENOUS
Toronto – Jay Soule

 

Jay Soule is a multidisciplinary artist known as “Chippewar” in the Indigenous community. His internationally-recognized work expresses much of the angst of today’s Indigenous population in Canada. Adopted at five years of age, Jay was taken from his birth mother and grew up outside his home community. He is considered part of the “Sixties Scoop,” a period in which Indigenous children were removed from their families and assimilated into non-Indigenous households. As a teenager, Jay left his home and opted for a life on the street. For a few years, he lived among the street kids of Toronto, eventually finding refuge in one of the city’s Indigenous shelters.

 

 

 

SKINDIGENOUS
Prince Ruppert – Nakkita Trimble

 

Nakkita Trimble is the only tattoo artist from the Nisga’a Nation. Along with elders from her community, she hopes to revive the traditional process of tattooing known as gihlee’e. Ts’iksna’aḵs—the tattoos—were usually composed of crests, known as ayukws, and of adaawaḵs, which are stories, legends and history. She plans to teach someone else the art of the Nisga’a tattoing so that more people can reconnect with this ancient practice.

 

 

 

SKINDIGENOUS
Mexico – Samuel Olman

 

The ancient city of Palenque was once a hub of Mayan civilization. For centuries after its decline, it lay hidden under layers of tropical vegetation, until modern archaeologists peeled back the jungle to reveal it to the world in the last century. Today, Palenque is both an cultural centre and a sacred site. It was here that Indigenous artist Samuel Olman chose to set up his traditional Mayan tattoo practice. Living in the heart of the jungle near the ancient ruins, Samuel heads up the Olman Project, which aims to revive the art, knowledge and wisdom of Mesoamerican tattooing, while adapting it to the modern world.

 

 

 

SKINDIGENOUS
New Zealand – Gordon Toi

 

In the twentieth century, the Maori of New Zealand all but lost their tattooing tradition. Only the women who continued to sport the traditional chin design ensured that the art did not disappear completely. Today, a tattoo renaissance is underway, and artist Gordon Toi plays a key role in the process. Using modern machines to weave ancient patterns reflecting the powers of the natural world, Gordon has made it his life’s quest to ensure that the art of ta moko can continue to flourish in the twenty-first century and beyond. His studio House of Natives is more than a tattoo shop—it is a cultural institution and a place where one feels the presence of the sacred.