8. Takahiro Kitamura on Sulu’ape Steve Looney

8. Sulu Ape Steve Looney 500x500

I’m Takahiro Kitamura, I’m the curator of this exhibition, and what we have is a work by Samoan tattoo master Sulu’ape Steve Looney. This is an amazing example of the usage of Japanese form with other types of tattooing. What we see here is the traditional format of a three-quarter sleeve chest panel – a three-quarter sleeve is called chichibu, and the chest panel is called hikaie. And what Sulu’ape Steve Looney has done here is basically used the framework of the Japanese sleeve and chest panel and filled it with traditional Samoan patterns. This is a departure from the actual traditional Samoan paia, which is an abdomen down to past the knee tattoo. So it’s a very different style, and it just shows the fusion across the world, and how Japanese tattoo forms are being used in other styles of tattooing.

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