Body Language: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest

Body Language: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest

Body Language is the first exhibition to fully explore the rich history and artistry of Indigenous tattooing on the Northwest Coast. Since ancient times, both men and women on the coast marked their clan crests and symbols of personal identity onto their skin. Tattoos were a celebration and recognition of special life events, potlatches, and social rank. After 1885, when the practice of tattooing and potlatches was banned, the display of personal crest designs was transferred to clothing and jewellery.

The five contemporary Indigenous artists featured in the exhibition are exploring traditional tattooing within their own culture. As these traditions re-emerge, they are transcending mere decoration to provide healing, protection and a profound sense of belonging. These artists include Nakkita Trimble (Nisga’a); Nahaan (Tlingit); Corey Bulpitt (Haida); and Dean Hunt (Heiltsuk). Guest Curator Dion Kaszas is a Hungarian, Metis, and Nlaka’pamux tattoo artist, painter and cultural tattoo practitioner who has been working on reviving Indigenous tattooing since 2012. The exhibition includes historical and contemporary photographs, along with contemporary art all related to tattooing designs.

“Indigenous tattooing and piercing is deeply connected to the struggle and triumphs of Indigenous peoples,” says Kaszas. “The reclaiming of these practices is symbolic of our process of decolonization. Having a physical ancestral mark helps in communicating our identities and instils pride as we make ourselves visible as the original peoples of this land. It is also significant for many – particularly those who are displaced – on their journey of self-discovery and understanding of what it means to be Indigenous.”

Languages: English, French
Rental Cost: Under $5,000 (USD)
Shipping Cost: Inbound, one-way
Insurance: Additional
Minimum Rental Period: 12 weeks
Size: Under 1,000 sq ft / 93 sq m
Availability: Immediately
Security Level: Low
Number of Crates: 3
Total Crated Weight:
Original Objects:
8 banners (3 x 6 feet)
22 framed photographs (with plexi)
Four wall-hung artworks
One sculpture (to be displayed in a case)
Contemporary artefacts (to be displayed in a case)
Interactives: One DVD film featuring the five artists and key themes
80-page full colour publication available on consignment
French language pamphlets available
Special Requirements: This exhibition can be adapted to small or large spaces.
Supplementary Materials:

To be announced


For more information, please contact:

Lending Organization: Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
Contact Person: Beth Carter
Telephone: +1-604-682-3455 ext. 226
Website: Bill Reid Gallery