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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Skin literacies 


tattoo book

I've finally got my copy of Arabic Tattoos (see sidebar for details). It's got my photograph of Ruth's white farasha tattoo (here) in it. There's also a really interesting piece by Jon Udelson on the appropriation of different languages and scripts in skin art. The tattooers' and tattooees' comments are also worth noting. They show the tattooers' concern to get it right, as well as the way the writing is significant to the tattooees. Jon asks the question: to whom does a language belong, but avoids a direct answer. In most cases it seems that the meaning is richer for the bearer of the tattoo (the text?) than for the reader or the writer.

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