Art of Tattooing Has Rich, Lengthy History - Nugget Article | Capitol Centre

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Art of Tattooing Has Rich, Lengthy History - Nugget Article

By | November 20, 2020

The WKP Kennedy Gallery is always trying to search out and lend a hand to local artists no matter what they create because our space is a community space.

This week we’re focusing on one of the most plentiful industries in the city; tattoo art.

On almost every main street and strip mall in Ontario, you’ll be delighted to find the flickering lights of a tattoo parlour which so many talented local artists call home. In honour of this, the gallery did some background research on how tattooing came to be and how it ended up being such a prominent piece of aesthetic that more than one-fifth of Canadians choose to adorn themselves with.

The earliest physical tattoo we have is preserved on the body of Otzi the Iceman, who was discovered in the Alps between Italy and Austria in 1991. He died around 3300 BCE (before common era or zero). And since he was frozen at the time of his death, his body was completely preserved.

This allowed researchers to find 61 small tattoos all over his body, done by rubbing charcoal into planned-out puncture wounds. It is thought the tattoos were some sort of medical procedure to help his ailing joints. However, this cannot be confirmed entirely.

Tattoos and body markings go much further back, with evidence showing us that body modification was an important cultural practice for more than 10,000 years and performed by numerous cultures.

In Japan, for example, there is thought that tattooing goes back into the Paleolithic era (2.5 million years ago), while in Egypt it is seen as far back as the earliest pyramids (around 2630 BCE).

Greece, Arabia, Siberia and China are just some of the places that ancient tattoos are found on remains and in archaeological evidence.

The Picts, a Northern European tribe that lived anywhere between 100 BCE and 100 CE (common era or after zero), were named after their word for “painted people” or the “Picts.” It is clear that no matter the reason for body art, it has existed much longer than we believe and surpasses being simply art into the world of cultural importance and heritage.

Our goal here at the gallery was to expand our reach and network throughout 2020 – something we were forced to do because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our efforts at putting content online and reaching out to local businesses has enlightened us to a new world of creating that very much stands its ground in time and culture.

We aim to continue interacting with the artistic community here in North Bay and are excited to see what can happen when it is exposed to the world of galleries; blending one type of art with another.