Branding Hawaiian culture with tattoos

20 May 2020

The teaching of traditional cultural practices like tattooing not only preserves cultural identities but underlines the important role indigenous people can play in the modern world; that’s according to a practitioner of the art of tattooing in Hawaii.

Keone Nunes, brought the practice of the traditional art form back to Hawaii from Samoa in the 1990s after it was largely forgotten in the US island state.

Only, age-old handmade tools, made of whale bone, wood and fibers are used to tap natural ink permanently into the skin. 
Keone Nunes was interviewed as part of a photography project by the UN’s International Labour Organization  “Dignity at Work: The American Experience” which documents the working life of people across the United States. 

He spoke to Kevin Cassidy, the Director of the ILO’s office for the United States, while he was tapping a new design onto the leg of a client with the help of two assistants. 

Talking ahead of International Arts Education Week which begins on 25 May, Mr Keone began by explaining what it means to be Hawaiian.

Audio Credit:
Daniel Dickinson/ UN News
Audio Duration:


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