An Inside Look at Tattoo Day

On February 27, the art of Japanese tattooing will have its very own day at The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens – a day filled with fun family activities, a rare opportunity to watch a traditional method of tattooing and a chance to hear from tattoo artists who are globally influential.

Tattoo Day is inspired by Morikami’s newest exhibit Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World, on display from February 26 through May 8, 2016. We asked Wendy Lo, The Morikami’s Curator of Education, what will make this brand new event so special:

Q: Is Tattoo Day something you’ve always wanted to do or was it simply inspired by the Perseverance exhibit?

It was very much inspired by the Perseverance exhibit. Tattoo Day is a great kick off to this contemporary exhibit, which educates the public about this unique art form that is rich with artistic, historic and cultural context, but is often misunderstood by the majority, who do not know much about Japanese tattoos and tattoos in general.

Q: Tying the past and present together through something as contemporary as tattoos will appeal to a big segment of the population. How often do you get to explore a modern phenomenon through a historical and cultural lens? Do you recall another opportunity to have interactive fun with such a contemporary topic?

The only one I can recall is our recent Robot Day in July of 2015, which tied in with the robot exhibit we displayed during the summer. We had about 1,400 people in attendance that day, which was filled with family fun programs and robot demonstrations/presentations by the South Florida Science Center and local school robot clubs (K-12) that were part of the national FIRST organization. The robot exhibit explored the history and role of robots in Japanese pop culture, and how they influenced and inspired modern robotic innovations and roboticists today.

Q: Personally, what part of the day are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to the tebori demonstration by Horitomo. To see a live demonstration of the traditional way of Japanese tattooing is rare. Not many are trained to do this technique out of Japan and as well as in Japan, since many tattoo artists now use modern tools. The artist panel following will also be a treat. The audience will get a chance to hear from well-known artists in the industry who have been pioneers in introducing the art form of Japanese tattoos to the West.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861)
Series: One Hundred Eight Heroes of the Water Margin, c.1828
Woodblock print, ink and color on paper
Irezumi, or Japanese tattoos, are a unique art form that is rich with artistic, historic and cultural context.
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Looking in Pain, 1888
woodblock print, ink and color on paper
A ukiyo-e depiction of tebori.

Join Us! Saturday, February 27, 2016

Tattoo Day includes both FREE Family Activities throughout the day and the Tattoo Symposium— including a panel and demonstration featuring top artists in the tattoo industry—all in conjunction with the exhibition Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World.

Family Activities: Free with paid museum admission
Tattoo Symposium: Sold out!


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