Samoan Artists Create Live Tattoo Exhibition!

21inkedd in Stories

Graphic artist Vaimaila Urale teamed up with tattoo artist Chris Amosa to create an awesome live tattoo exhibition!

Samoa has a long history of traditional tattooing and graphic artist Vaimaila Urale used this as inspiration in her latest project that was featured at the Whau Arts Festival in Auckland. Seeking to bring traditional Samoan tattooing into a more contemporary setting Urale used a computer keyboard to create Polynesian inspired designs that were tattooed onto a number of volunteers. In creating her designs Urale used only the v, or greater than (>), the less than symbols, (<) and the forward (/) and backslash () on the keyboard.

Vaimaila Urale
Vaimaila Urale

"In Samoan, the 'v' symbol is called 'fa'avae tuli', it's based on a bird footprint of the tuli bird, so the footprint that it leaves in the sand. The forward and backslash lines in Samoan the name for it is, 'tusi lili'i', which are basically just translates to small lines"


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    Live Tattoo Exhibition, Urale's Tattoo Designs
    Live Tattoo Exhibition, Urale's Tattoo Designs

    Urale chose the tattooing and a keyboard as her mediums as they reflect both her Samoan heritage and western orientated upbringing. The designs created were displayed on a 58-meter wall but to create the unique tattoos Urale collaborated with tattoo artist Chris Amosa.

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    Tattoo Artist Chris Amosa
    Tattoo Artist Chris Amosa

    Owner and tattoo artist at Cain Tattoo Studio Amosa took to the Whau Arts Festival where he tattooed Urale's designs on 10 people in a live tattoo exhibition. A number of the volunteers getting tattooed were actually getting tattooed for the first time, thankfully they were in safe hands!

    Volunteer Reina Sutton Shows Her New Tattoo!!
    Volunteer Reina Sutton Shows Her New Tattoo!!

    Interestingly this isn't Urale's first live-tattoo project, she ran a similar one at the San Francisco's SOMArts Cultural Centre in 2013. Clearly an artist with a great understanding on traditional tattooing Urale certainly created an awesome and unique art project that combined traditional Polynesian art with contemporary technology. Live tattoo exhibits are great and this collaboration proves it once more!!


    @Robert Davies

    Tattoodo Staff Writer and tattoo enthusiast. Lover of all things traditional and blackwork!


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