Melanesian Marks: Revival through Practice / by Ahilapalapa Rands

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What are the dynamics of revival when cultural memory has been diminished by colonisation and accounts of the practice are translated through the positionality of academics and outsiders?

Melanesian Marks is a movement to revive the practice of marking our indigenous bodies as an act of reclamation, reinscribing importance on bodies that became invisible in the colonial narrative of our existence.

Curator Ema Tavola and tattoo practitioner Julia Mage’au Gray shared their personal journeys within the movement of reviving tattoo practices indigenous to the Moana (Oceania) through photos and stories.  This panel was framed by a two day residency at Moku where Julia marked people in the space and the documentary following her journey, Tep Tok was screened as well as the art work The Calling.

For more about each practitioner see:

Ema: https://pimpiknows.com/tag/ema-tavola/

Julia: https://www.melanesianmarks.com/about-julia

Words: Ahilapalapa Rands

Images: Joshua Virusami