Down to their very essence tattoos are all about freedom of speech and expression. Thus, when an attack on those freedoms like the massacre of journalists at France’s Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday the entire arts community can’t help but be shaken. One tattoo artist responded in the most powerful way they could, by tattooing “Je suis Charlie” on the hand of Dutch photographer Paul Blanca.
Amsterdam-based tattooist Fabio Maravalhas inked the slogan that has been used to show solidarity with the victims of the shooting onto the hand of Blanca. Blanca felt that a tattoo with such meaning had to be given prominent placing.
“Think of it as a form of protest,” Blanca told Dutch news site RTL News. “I want the tattoo to make a statement and show that I am for freedom of expression.”
In the day since the tragedy artists worldwide have shown support for the slain journalists. The hashtag #jesuischarlie is still trending on all major forms of social media. Some of the most noticeable tributes were by artist Lucille Clerc, a slew of satirical cartoonists, the Daily Show, Conan and comedian Louis CK.
It’s easy to stand up and make a statement in the face of tragedy in the immediate days following the event, but what stands out about Blanca and Maravalhas’ tattoo statement is that it will last forever. Blanca will be reminded about the events of January 7, 2015 every time he looks down at his tattoo. Maravalhas believes that he won’t be the only one who wants to remember
“It is a beautiful form of protest,” Maravalhas told RTL News.
We couldn’t agree more.