Young tattoo artist at Bangkok Tattoo Expo
THAILAND // MARCH 2017
Ferdinand Marcos was president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, when he was overthrown by a revolt – dubbed the People Power revolution – and forced to flee into exile to Hawaii, where he died in 1989.
His body was returned to the Philippines in 1993 and has since been kept in a refrigerated crypt in a mausoleum in his hometown of Batac, Ilocos Norte, 470km north of Manila.
In 2004, Transparency International, the anti-corruption watchdog, named Marcos the second most corrupt leader of all time, behind Indonesian authoritarian ruler Suharto.
Despite public opposition, Marcos was buried in a heroes’ cemetery in the capital in a ceremony shrouded in secrecy in November 2016.
Text by Al Jazeera
Guest post by Andrew Marshall
THE PHILIPPINES // JANUARY 2017
Ravi runs a tattoo shop in Palika Bazaar, a gigantic, gloomy underground market in central New Delhi, home to hundreds of tattooists of dubious skills and more dubious hygiene standards. Ravi is a devotee of Shiva, Hindu god of creation and destruction. If you want your godly tattoos rough and ready like Ravi, Palika Bazaar is the place for you. Tattoos then, are perhaps the last personal expression left to otherwise powerless people. The government can’t take them from you. Your mother can’t rub them off.
INDIA // JULY 2016
‘Metropolis, worlds collide, Ain’t nobody on the other side.’
‘Metropolis’ – Motörhead
Hindu calendar in a tattoo shop in New Delhi.
INDIA // JULY 2016
Carl Denham: “Monsters belong in B movies.”
From the movie King Kong
MALAYSIA // DECEMBER 2015
“No, it wasn’t an accident, I didn’t say that. It was carefully planned, down to the tiniest mechanical and emotional detail. But it was a mistake.”
‘On The Beach’ – Nevil Shute
MALAYSIA // DECEMBER 2015
Jayalalithaa Jayaraman, former actress, illustrious state minister of Tamil Nadu and leader of the AIDMK party passed away today. For her 68th birthday, her sixt-eight most devoted followers had her face tattooed on their arms. The tradition harks back to the turbulent politics in the state in the 1970s. These three gentlemen in the photograph also have tattoos of MGR, Jayalalithaa’s predecessor, applied during a mass ceremony in 1977. India never disappoints.
INDIA // July 2016
‘The only things that go through my head are aliens, robots and naked girls who are all waiting to come to life in my work.’
American hobo tattoo artist Chris Powers, who’s lived on the road for twenty-five years, attending the 2015 International Tattoo Convention in Kathmandu.
On the tattoo convention’s second day, April 25th, Nepal was hit by a massive earthquake. Some 9000 people lost their lives and part of Kathmandu’s historic center collapsed. Chris Powers and the other convention attendees survived.
NEPAL // APRIL 2015
God loves the poor.
This Desia Kondh woman is sitting on the floor of a catholic church made of mud in the back of beyond of Odisha, clapping along to the psalms, waiting for Jesus to free her from large scale mining businesses taking her land, proselytizing missionaries taking her beliefs, the Hindu majority dictating their fashion and a hostile government taking her identity. The Desia Kondh women believe that face tattoos serve as identity markers in the afterlife. This woman’s younger sisters have been talked out of the tradition by god men and the authorities. They’ve been told that they won’t need their markers once they have reached the footstool of the Almighty, that a headscarf will make them respectable, and that they won’t get a job in the market economy with chess boards on their cheeks.
INDIA // AUGUST 2016
A European success story.
A ‘Légion étrangère’, a former soldier of the Foreign legion, who fought in the Balkans, is back home in Strasbourg and lives on the streets. Damaged and without government support, his life has been a classy affair since he risked his life for kin and country.
And his handmade tattoos tell his story – a simple biro served as machine, the ink was made from the burnt rubber from the sole of a shoe.Some time ago he used a bottle of sky (French slang for whisky) and a lit cigar to erase the tattoos which reminded him of a war that turned out to be ugly and a woman no longer there. He has three dots inside a triangle inked between his eyes. It’s a mark of French street culture and means ‘Mort aux vaches’, which translates as ‘Kill the Pigs’.
In the daytime, the legionnaire drinks and begs in front of a church which does nothing for his welfare. At night he sleeps rough in the woods.
He wants to die in Strasbourg to be buried next to his family.
FRANCE // AUGUST 2016