Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed a groundbreaking exhibition at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall opening this week has been curated by Dr Matt Lodder, lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Director of American Studies at the University of Essex.
This highly anticipated exhibition offers a comprehensive history of British tattooing, featuring cutting edge designers and major private collectors. It tells a story that challenges long-standing myths and pre-conceptions about tattooing when it comes to class, gender and age, whilst at the same time giving a voice to and celebrating the astonishingly rich artistic heritage of tattooing as an art form in the UK.
Dr Lodder, who was supported by co-curators Stuart Slade and Derryth Ridge of National Maritime Museum Cornwall, said: “Tattooing is a magical, romantic, exciting and often-misunderstood art-form, and this exhibition aims to communicate some of that magic to visitors.
"Whilst British and global museums have had a longstanding interest in Western tattooing, none have ever managed to fully combine serious academic research with access to the vast but hidden troves of tattoo ephemera kept closely guarded in private collections.
“In this exhibition, we have finally been able to match the most current and cutting-edge research on British tattoo history – which challenges all the most deeply-held perceptions about the practice, its origins, its extent, and its reception – with unparalleled access to the true custodians of tattooing’s history: the artists and their families who have cared for these objects and their stories over decades."