The beauty of Filipino art just made a buzz in the Royal Ontario Museum after the oldest Filipino tattoo artist was featured in Canada Art Exhibit entitled “Tattoo: Ritual, Identity, Obsession, Art”. Apo Whang-Od from a tribe in Kalinga, being the last original hand-tap artist, locally known as “mambabatok” was high-lighted in the said event.
According to GMA News Online, the art exhibit was originally held in the Museé du Quai Branly in Paris before it took place in Canada, with the purpose of exploring the estimated 5,000-year-old complex beauty and cultural value of tattooing. It showcased not only the history of art and markings in the human body, but as well as the tools, posters and prints of the ancient tattooing industry. In fact, the organizers of the said art exhibit give the visitors the chance to actually view 13 silicone body parts that were inked by famous tattoo artists from around the globe including Tin-Tin from France, Horiyoshi III from Japan, Filip Leu from Switzerland, Paul Booth from the United States of America (USA), Chimé from Polynesia and Yann Black from Montreal.
One of the renowned mambabatoks during the exhibit was the oldest Filipino tattoo artist, Apo Whang-Od, who gave Philippines the full honor of exceptional and complex art of tattooing. Being one of the highlights of the said event, her image was even displayed to grace the banner for the announcement of the opening of the art exhibit, reported The Cordilleran Sun. Among her featured images was the one captured by Jake Verzosa in 2011.
Until her 97th year of existence, Apo Whang-Od played a significant part of the history through practicing a unique way of tattooing. As stated by The Philippine Primer, she uses a thorn from the pomelo tree and bamboo grass to print art on a person’s body, and because of such exceptional talent, a lot of art enthusiasts have been campaigning that Apo Whang-Od, the oldest Filipino tattoo artist featured in Canada Art Exhibit, be entitled as Pambansang Alagad ng Sining.
Surely, Apo Whang-Od who was the oldest Filipino tattoo artist featured in Canada Art Exhibit shines as another Filipino pride in the field of art.
Featured image from cordilleransun & Photo credit: Kayleen Kwet