LISTEN LIVE: Loading...



Tattoos: From Maori to America

This article is more than 15 years old.
America is in the middle of a tattoo craze. Forty percent of Americans aged 26 to 40 have been tattooed. More than a third of Americans 18 to 25 have already been inked somewhere — sometimes in ways shocking to their elders.

But the U.S. tattoo culture is nothing compared to some of the world's body art traditions.

New Zealand's indigenous Maori people sustain an ancient tattoo tradition that puts bold spirals and family history on their faces.

It was banned. It's come back.

This hour, On Point: the old original tattoo tradition of the Maori, and America's tattoo culture today.Guests:

Karen Kramer Russell, curator of the Peabody Essex Museum's exhibition, "Body Politics: Maori Tattoo Today."

Whare Heke, Maori artist and bone carver, he works out of his Moana Nui Designs studio in Watertown, Mass.

Mary Kosut, professor of sociology at Purchase College, State University of New York, and director of the college's Media, Society and Arts program, she has spent more than a decade researching American tattoo culture.

This program aired on February 27, 2008.


Listen Live