Posted by Johanna Ortiz , Friday, September 2, 2011 8:00 AM
Dutdutan: (doot-doot-ahn) - a Tagalog word meaning to continually insert or jab.
Now on it’s 11th year, Dutdutan is now synonymous with tattoo art in the Philippines. At least that’s how a lot of tattoo enthusiasts in the country would like to view it.
For the 15,000 or so who congregated at the World Trade Center in Manila on August 26 and 27, the biggest tattoo show this side of the earth is also a definition of the alternative lifestyle that they have chosen.
But according to the organizers, tattoo art was not always part of the alternative scene. Native Filipinos have a rich history of tattoo art dating back to pre-colonial dates. In fact, when the Spaniards first got here, they were greeted with a heavily tattooed Visayan tribe and they called the islands “La Isla De Los Pintados” meaning the “Island of the Painted Ones.”
Christianity and western culture eventually supplanted that practice and not until we fast forward to the 90s do we see the rebirth of skin art.
The man and talent behind that is Ricky Sta. Ana, who started the yearly gathering with a small group of tattoo artists and customers. Eleven years later and supported by a major alternative lifestyle brand, Tribal Gear, the show has now taken on a bigger vision.
It is now a convention, known in the skin art circle around the world and they are even able to bring in the best tattoo artists from around the world to prove that. Underlying this achievement is the organizers’ cause to eliminate the stigma of skin art as taboo, since it has always appealed to the rebel crowd and the unconventional.