Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

You won't find mom hearts, zodiac signs or pinup babes at this photo exhibition of tattoos. Instead, you'll see New Zealand shutterbug Mark Adams uncovering Samoan tribal body art in his hometown of Auckland. Here in his North American debut, 27 colour and 18 black and white prints, dating back to 1978, show macho Samoans squirming while geometric patterns are punctured into their skin.

This extensive "pe'a" tattooing ("tatau" in Samoan) that he documents takes weeks to complete and is passed down like a family heirloom from father to son as a rite of passage into manhood. The polished product starts at the ribcage and sprawls down to the knees, like a long pair of shorts.

The exhibition was chosen to reveal the cultural contrast of tattoos across continents. "Traditionally, the Samoan tattoo represents a status symbol, while here, they are cool, and are what criminals and degenerates have," says Charles Reeve, the curator.

Story continues below advertisement

It also appears to be a style the students at the Ontario College of Art and Design seem to be sporting. "I dare you to find one art student at this school who doesn't have a tattoo," says Mr. Reeve from the university's Professional Gallery, where twentysomethings in piercings and pink hair float about. When asked to flash his own tattoo, he has nothing to show. He says, "It's just not my style."

Until May 18. Wednesday to Friday, 1 to 7 p.m., weekends 12 to 6 p.m. Professional Gallery, Ontario College of Art and Design, 100 McCaul Street. 416-977-6000, ext. 265. .

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies