One of the Oldest Tattoo Artists in in a Hotbed of Controversy
When it comes to influential tattooers who have left a permanent mark on the industry, Filippino tattooist Whang-od is an important figure in world tattoo history. The traditional Kalinga artist, who at 100-years-old continues to practice her craft, is the oldest working tattooer in history with an impressive 85 years of experience. She's been honored as one of the National Artists and National Living Treasures in the Philippines and she continues to pass down the 10,000-year-old tradition of Batok to apprentices as well as her grandnieces.
This past week, Whang-od and her team attended the Manila Fame Trade Show in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, to showcase her traditional craft and speak on a panel. However, Whang-od and the convention were soon surrounded in controversy after a photograph of the tattooist went viral on social media. The photo suggested that the 100-year-old artist was being exploited by the trade show and many turned to Twitter to voice their outrage. Take a look at what happened at this highly talked about trade show and let Whang-od's own grandniece, Grace Palicas, explain the situation at hand.
Photo by Jorge Fernandez Alamy