Tattoo activist wants to expose Peninsular M’sians to artistic uniqueness of S’wak

Tattoo activist wants to expose Peninsular M’sians to artistic uniqueness of S’wak

KUCHING (April 6): The people in Peninsular Malaysia need to be exposed to the artistic uniqueness of Sarawak, especially its tattoo culture. In pointing this out, tattoo activist Boi Skrang says in Sarawak – and Borneo, as a whole – tattooing is a common practice and until today, it is accepted as a part of the region’s cultural heritage

“Tattooing is an integral part of the Dayak tribal culture on the island of Borneo.

“Tattooing holds great significance for the Iban men. Traditionally, upon reaching the age of 12, they would embark on a journey away from their longhouses.

“Upon their return, they are gifted with the ‘Bunga Terung’ tattoo as a symbol of their experiences, which they will recount to the community at the longhouse,” he told reporters when met after the launch of the Kuching International Tattoo Expo 2024 here yesterday.

Boi, also the co-organising chairman of the event’s committee, underlined that tattooing is accepted by almost all of the communities in Sarawak.

“Tattooing is not a problem here – it is accepted. I want to open the eyes of the people in Peninsular Malaysia for them to recognise and be more welcoming of this culture.

“Tattoos are increasingly popular now, and they are sought after by people from all walks of life. If possible, I’d like to suggest organising an event dedicated to it every year.”

Boi and the expo’s joint organising chairman, Nicholas Jenta, said they received a pledge of sponsorship from the Deputy Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak Datuk Snowdan Lawan to organise and hold the expo on a larger scale – if it received a positive response this time.

In this regard, Boi said he would like the expo to be held in the middle of the year to attract more tattoo artists from abroad.

“We truly hope so, and it would be our second event.”

Taking place at the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) Hall here, the Kuching International Tattoo Expo 2024 is hosting other activities as well such as a ‘Cultural Night’, a tattoo competition, ‘snake and fire’ performances, and also a bazaar.

(Source: The Borneopost, April 6, 2024)

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