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Video: Oceania and the art of tattooing

Published 17 October 2018

Tattoo has a long history in the South Pacific, as shown by a number of historic treasures and contemporary artworks in our Oceania exhibition. In this video, a traditional tā moko (Māori tattoo) artist talks about his work.

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    Tattoo in Oceania: a living legacy

    New Zealand tattoo artist Te Rangitu Netana had been working with electric tattoo machines for 15 years when he first met Su‘a Sulu‘ape Paulo II, a tufuga tatatau (Samoan tattooist). He was inspired by Sulu‘ape’s use of the traditional hand-tapping technique, and from that point on he began incorporating uhi (traditional tools) into his practice.

    In this video, Te Rangitu Netana explains the importance of tā moko in Maori culture, and New Zealand artist Mark Adams discusses his work documenting the work of tufuga tatatau, two examples of which are on show in Oceania.

    • Gods and Ancestors room in the Oceania exhibition

      Book now for Oceania

      Until 10 Dec 2018

      ★★★★★ “A stupendous odyssey through the superb art and fascinating culture of the Pacific… A blockbuster and then some.” – The Guardian.

      Oceania brings together around 200 exceptional works from public collections worldwide, and spans over 500 years. From shell, greenstone and ceramic ornaments, to huge canoes and stunning god images, we explore important themes of voyaging, place making and encounter.