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Tattoo: Bodies, art and exchange in the Pacific and the West edited by Nicholas Thomas, Anna Cole and Bronwen Douglas

by
August 2005, no. 273

Tattoo: Bodies, art and exchange in the Pacific and the West edited by Nicholas Thomas, Anna Cole and Bronwen Douglas

Reaktion Books, $39.95 pb, 252 pp

Tattoo: Bodies, art and exchange in the Pacific and the West edited by Nicholas Thomas, Anna Cole and Bronwen Douglas

by
August 2005, no. 273

Only a few decades ago, in the developed countries of the West, tattoos were a relatively uncommon sight, and were generally associated with marginalised groups: soldiers, sailors, gangs and criminals. Since the 1980s, tattoos have become a mainstream form of bodily adornment for the young and socially edgy. This tattooing renaissance has both driven and been influenced by an increased interest in ‘traditional’ tattoo designs from the Pacific. Within Pacific societies themselves, traditional tattooing is seen as an assertion of cultural endurance and value. On the international scene, where tattoos are aligned with individualised desires, Pacific tattooing practices are prized for their strong patterns and ‘neo-tribal’ qualities.

Kate Darian-Smith reviews ‘Tattoo: Bodies, art and exchange in the Pacific and the West’ edited by Nicholas Thomas, Anna Cole and Bronwen Douglas

Tattoo: Bodies, art and exchange in the Pacific and the West

edited by Nicholas Thomas, Anna Cole and Bronwen Douglas

Reaktion Books, $39.95 pb, 252 pp

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