Tattoo: Identity in Ink

Coming May 26, 2022


Exhibition Type

temporary

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For more than 5,000 years, tattoos have been used to document the history of humanity one painful mark at a time. Spanning cultures and continents, tattooing has adorned European nobility and Native Americans, celebrities and Scandinavian sailors, punks and presidents, and seemingly everyone else in between. Today, tattoos have never been more popular.

Tattoos are so much more than decoration. Tattoos are a powerful visual language of the skin, and, like texts, they permanently record memories, life stories, and personal achievements.

Tattoo: Identity Through Ink tells the story of tattoos and the people who have them. We’ll explore the ways individual and group identities are formed, reinforced, and celebrated through tattoos. Of course there is a Scandinavian connection–with celebrated artists like Norwegian Johan Frederik Knudsen and Norwegian-American Amund Dietzel, the question of whether or not Vikings had tattoos, and the rise of a whole modern Neo-Nordic style of tattooing. But the exhibition also allows us to explore more deeply the traditions of body ornamentation in other cultures and our connections to them.

This exhibit is on loan from Vesterheim Museum and is sponsored by Humanities Iowa.