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New exhibition offers a contemporary take on Samoan tattooing

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

For the opening night of Enjoy Public Art Gallery’s latest exhibition, visitors had the chance to experience something a little bit different: a live tattoo session accompanied by DJing from one of the artists long time collaborators.

The tattoo session was part of the opening night of the exhibition Typeface: Enjoy by Vaimaila Urale. Part of a larger body of work by Urale that brings together traditional Polynesian design and the standardised symbols found on computer keyboards, Urale’s work often involves collaboration with other practitioners and volunteers, the current exhibition being no exception.

Working with four repeated characters (< greater than, > less than, / forward slash, \ back slash), Urale has developed paintings, murals, site-specific installations, tattoo designs and performances. Building a dialogue between the architecture of the body and Enjoy’s gallery space, Urale’s latest work was tattooed on volunteer Michelle Healey by tatoo artist Andy Tauafiafi as visitors looked on. The night was soundtracked with DJing from Linda T. of D.A.N.C.E Art Club.

The exhibition is on view at the gallery until 2 June and includes two large-scale paintings and a twelve meter long mural of the tattoo design.

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