One of the things that Jason and I are interested in is the history of body modification whether it be piercings or jewelry or tattoos or scarification. We’re not active collectors, but when an opportunity presents itself we’ve been known to take advantage of the opportunity. A couple of weeks ago my friend Maurie told me about the Guild Shop here in Toronto, first as a potential place for some registry items and later to let me know about a friends & family sale. I, of course, looked through the website and immediately fell in love with a print by Germaine Aranktauyok titled Tunilik (which I believe means the tattooed woman). We picked it up this week and it is amazing!
Germaine’s cousin works/volunteers at the Guild Shop, so I was able to talk with her a little bit about the tattoos. Apparently, the tattoos in the print are based on those of Germaine’s grandmother. Tattooing started at the hands, went up the arms and onto the breast. Faces were tattooed last. The main portion of the design identified the tribe/clan, although some elements are unique to the individual. She also described the traditional process, which involved very sharp leg bones from caribou, sinew, soot, and sewing.
I think its lovely. I’m excited that by purchasing this print and hanging it out in our house, we’ll be able to share this piece of (not very well known) Canadian culture and history with friends and family and future generations.