Monday, May 17, 2010

Modern Moko

In a modern age of moko (tattoo) rennaissance, it seems only fair that I occasionally be allowed to play (with permission) with a few contemporary designs on Photo Shop - purely in the name of creativity. I photographed this Ngai Tahu man's tattooed arm recently - just small sections of it - and I was much taken with the marriage of pattern and background. Tattoo has always been the most personal of Maori arts - each one designed specifically to reflect a person's whakapapa (ancestry). In the old days, no Maori - man or woman - of rank went without a tattoed adornment of some kind. It is rare to see a full face tattoo today - although there are some - but arm and leg tattooing has become increasingly popular over the last decade. For many, it is a statement about their reconnection to their Maori ancestry and tribal culture; for others (usually non-Maori) is more about being part of a popular trend, about making some sort of design statement, or marking themselves in a distinctly New Zealand way - sometimes, sadly, with little thought to the meaning of the designs they adorning themselves with.

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