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Bill Reid Gallery Presents BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest

Thursday, May 24th, 2018 — 6:43pm PDT
Comments 19

The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, celebrating its 10th anniversary, announces the leading-edge exhibition BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest, running June 8, 2018 until January 13, 2019.

Until the 1885 potlatch ban, tattooing and piercing were integral to Northwest Indigenous cultures as a way to mark identity and social status. This premiere exhibition, led by guest curator Dion Kaszas (Nlaka’pamux, Hungarian, Métis), traces the history and meaning of traditional tattooing and piercing practices, and explores their contemporary revival.

BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest by Aaron Leonen
BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest by
Aaron Leonen

BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest

Where: Bill Reid Gallery (639 Hornby St, Vancouver)
When: June 8, 2018 – January 13, 2019

BODY LANGUAGE features five Northwest Indigenous cultural tattoo practitioners: Nakkita Trimble (Nisga’a), Nahaan (Tlingit), Corey Bulpitt (Haida), Dean Hunt (Heiltsuk), and guest curator Dion Kaszas (Nlaka’pamux). Each of these contemporary artists is researching and reclaiming the traditional techniques of their Nations, and building awareness of the significance and protocols around the tattooing traditions.

For millennia, Indigenous tattooing and piercing have been central to ceremony and recognize special life events, potlatches, and social rank within Northwest Indigenous communities. After they were banned, these personal crests were transferred to clothing and jewellery.

BODY LANGUAGE explores designs on skin, and their relationship to traditional clothing, rock art, jewellery, basketry, and weaving. This exhibition will also reveal how these traditions, as they re-emerge, transcend mere decoration to provide healing, protection, and a profound sense of belonging.

The contemporary artists represented in BODY LANGUAGE are at the forefront of the revival of Indigenous tattooing in British Columbia. Visitors will have the rare opportunity to learn the significance of and protocol around tattooing traditions, and explore the rich history and artistry of Indigenous tattooing, piercing and personal adornment on the Northwest coast.

To complement the exhibition, the Bill Reid Gallery is pleased to offer the following public programs:

Stitching Ourselves Back Together Symposium
Friday, June 8, 2018 9:30am to 4:00pm
Join us for a full day symposium exploring the history, revival and contemporary concerns around cultural tattooing. Registration required. Lunch included.

Live Tattooing in the Gallery
Saturday, June 9, 2018 11:00am to 4:00pm
Artists from the exhibition will demonstrate their techniques and chat about their process.

Enter to Win Tickets

I have a pair of tickets to give away so you can enjoy this exhibition. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Click below to post an entry on Twitter
Click to enter via TwitterClick To Tweet

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. The passes will be available for one-time use during the month of June.

Follow the Bill Reid Galley on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more info.

Update The winner is David!

Current contests on


  1. Lelainia Lloyd says:

    Would love to go & take my son with me. We are both tattooed and I think we’d really enjoy this learning opportunity.

    Tweeting as well under @tatterededge .

  2. Wes says:

    This would be cool to check out!

  3. Amy Pezzente says:

    Cool! Done and done

  4. Ray says:

    Would really like to see this exhibit

  5. Marisa. P says:

    This looks amazing.

  6. Tabby72 says:

    I’d love to visit this gallery and see the exhibition. Thanks!

  7. Jocelyn says:

    This looks like a fascinating exhibit.

  8. Pat Cumming says:

    Fascinating exhibit!

  9. Jason B says:

    Great Bday present.

  10. Kelly says:

    Would love to go see this!

  11. David Ngu says:

    has it reopened yet?! will go win or lose!

  12. Ann says:

    Very cool!

  13. Filio says:

    I’m intrigued and would be honoured to see this exhibition.

  14. Christine Uchida says:

    I would love to take my sister to this!

  15. Jazzy says:

    I would take my friend with me who loves tattoos!

  16. Grace Yan says:

    Saw the tattoo exhibit out at MOA a few years back. Love to check this one out, too!

  17. Andrea Giles says:

    I love Bill Reid’s work 🙂

  18. Eileen says:

    Sounds interesting

  19. louis luzuka says:

    this would be an incredible vlog for my channel

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