Story

Keone Nunes, Master Hawaiian Tattooist - Pacific Worlds

Keone Nunes, master Hawaiian tattooist speaks to Associate Curator of Contemporary History and Trends Suzanne Fischer and Experience Developer Christine Lashaw.

Telling stories on skin
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A conversation with Master Hawaiian Tattooist Keone Nunes

Well-known Hawaiian traditional tattooist Keone Nunes helped OMCA to conceptualize the tattoo section in the Pacific Worlds exhibition, so we were delighted to meet him in person this fall. Nunes visited California in September and October in part because he was asked to tattoo Native Californians in the Arcata area with their own ancestral designs. His visit was a follow up to a first trip a dozen years ago, and Nunes said he sees these invitations as an enormous honor and responsibility. At OMCA, Nunes toured Pacific Worlds and sat down with us to speak about his tattoo practice, what it means to carry traditional knowledge forward to the future, and how tattooing is an expression of sovereignty.

— Suzanne Fischer, associate curator of contemporary history and trends