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2015-2017

Tattoo in the Polynesian islands is an ancient tradition, considered a sacred art for centuries. Each line, shape and symbol has a special meaning, tells the story of the person, family lineage, activity and status in the society. And it varies from island to island.

When the missionaries arrived in the XVIII Century , the tattoo art was forbidden as they considered it a pagan practice.  Following that, it became a rarity until the early 1980´s, when there was a revival of this art led by some people interested in their own cultural heritage and traditions. They were inspired by old paintings and photographs, but also had to invent new elements to replace the older ones that had been lost. They started to learn the ancient techniques, introduced some new ones and became modern tattoo masters.

Today, tattoo is a common practice and Polynesians are proud of this tradition, but it is a modern interpretation of the older designs, most of them from the Marquesas islands, combined with new ones created by different tattoo artists.

I have been working in these photos for more than a year. I portrayed them in different islands of French Polynesia.






Cyril





Cyril





Tihoti





Tihoti





Fara





Varii





Patu





Manutea





Metani