Earthline Tattoo Collective completed a residency from July 3rd to 28th, 2017, supported, in part, by the Initiative for Indigenous Futures and hosted by the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, University of British Columbia Okanagan.
Earthline Tattoo Collective conducted a training residency in which six Indigenous artists were invited to learn tattooing practices tied to ancestral traditions. With an emphasis on tattooing, the training residency encouraged participants to connect to the past, consider their actions in the present, and focus on projecting a future that contains strong and confident Indigenous individuals, families, and communities.
“Indigenous tattooing across Canada and Turtle Island has always been associated with embodying who we are as Indigenous peoples. The practice of tattooing was associated with coming of age, healing, beautification, clan identification, and many other things before it was put to sleep by the genocidal colonial practices of assimilation and domination. The revival of Indigenous tattooing in Aotearoa and across the globe has been a tool of decolonization, re-indigenization, cultural revitalization, and a way of strengthening and anchoring Indigenous youth to their cultures and peoples. As the Earthline Tattoo Collective looks into the future we have developed the Earthline Tattoo Training Residency as our answer to the question, ‘What will you do for the people to be?’” (Jordan Bennett, Earthline Tattoo Collective)
During the final two weeks, Indigenous cultural tattoo practitioners from Hawaii and the Pacific joined the residency as guest mentors. The mentors shared their experiences and joined weekly exploratory visioning sessions in which the residency participants were given time to envision their nations’ future and its connection to tattooing and other aspects of visual and material culture.