Youngsters get their first inklings for tattoos

Cousins DJ Cervantes, 10, and Mackenzie Holbrow, aged nine, right, show off their temporary tattoos from the Sunderland Museum and Winter garden Tribal Tattoos event.

Cousins DJ Cervantes, 10, and Mackenzie Holbrow, aged nine, right, show off their temporary tattoos from the Sunderland Museum and Winter garden Tribal Tattoos event.

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TATTOO fans found out the ancient meaning of their inkings.

Scores of adults and children visited Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens to find out the history of the art of tattooing – derived from the Polynesian words tata, meaning to tap repeatedly, and au, which means to colour – and get their faces painted.

Tattoo artists Mike and Julie, of Art for Eternity Tattooing, Hartlepool, attended the event and shared their knowledge with visitors. Mike said: “I think it’s nice to show people where tattoos come from. A lot of the children’s parents have tattoos so it is interesting for them to find out their meanings, and they can get their faces painted.”

Sunderland Museums learning officer Jenny Lambert organised the event to link in with the first Grayson Perry tapestry, The Adoration of the Cage Fighters, which depicts tattooed men, and is on display at the museum.

“It’s been more popular than I anticipated it would be,” said Jenny. “It’s extremely interesting to find out the history of tattoos, especially of sailors’ designs because of Sunderland’s shipbuilding history.

“We’ve got people who are genuinely interested in finding out the meaning of their tattoos, and those who just want a butterfly on their face.”