KUCHING: The first-ever tribal and tattoo convention in Borneo began at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) yesterday.
‘Gathering of the Tribes’ showcases tattoo artistry from local and foreign tattoo masters, the latter come from as far as Indonesia, the Philippines, Italy, Russia, UK and Japan.
There are twenty-six booths, twenty-three of which are tattoo artists, where enthusiasts who are keen to be tattooed would have a good list to select from.
Besides focusing on tattoos, the three-day convention also highlights other tribal activities, notably those from Sarawak such as traditional dances, weaving, crafts, traditional rituals and ceremonies, among others.
There are also booths exhibiting our local handicrafts and traditional products.
Yesterday’s events included traditional dances from the Iban, Kayan, Melanau, Orang Ulu and Bidayuh communities.
Others included a loincloth competition and blowpipe competition, where participants were selected randomly from the floor.
The competitions received fairly good response from the visitors.
There was also a tattoo competition in the evening.
Also present at the convention is the world-renowned tattoo anthropologist and photographer Dr Lars Krutak.
His book, ‘The Tattooing Arts of Tribal Women’ is currently on sale exclusively at the convention and buyers will be able to get their copy autographed by the man himself.
Another highlight of the convention is the master Dayak tattooist from Yogjakarta-based Folk Tattoo Space, Herpianto Hendra.
The tattooist of Kadayan origin specialises in traditional hand-tap tattooing, which is a popular form of tattooing among the local and foreign tattoo enthusiasts.
A photography competition organised by Sarawak Photo Art Society is also ongoing at the convention.
Photographers will stand the chance to win cash prizes for the best photographs taken during the three days.
Judging is done by an independent panel and the results will be announced tomorrow (Sunday).
‘Gathering of the Tribes’ is open to all members of the public.
Tickets are priced at RM20 per day and are available on the day itself.
Today’s event will open with a Sape performance by the Orang Ulu community at 1 pm, followed by ‘Miring’ ceremony to mark the official opening of the convention.