Breaking the tattoo-taboo? | Damian Allison and Lyon Xuereb

We speak to Damian Allison and Lyon Xuereb, the organisers of ‘The Tattoo Culture’ – an upcoming Evenings on Campus event aiming to raise awareness about tattoos, and dispel any persistent myths about this increasingly popular art-form

Damian Allison
Damian Allison
Lyon Xuereb
Lyon Xuereb

What are the main aims of this event?

We are the only group who’s actively representing the tattoo community in the Maltese islands. The University of Malta gave us the perfect opportunity to educate and settle the myths surrounding the tattoo culture.

The evening will cover a variety of topics, ranging from ‘Ötzi’, the 5,300-year-old frozen tattooed mummy, to the historical meaning of tattoos in ancient cultures, all the way to our local modern culture. We will also discuss the medical aspects of tattoos, such as aftercare. 

Would you say the ‘tattoo culture’ in Malta has changed over the past few years? How so?

As years are passing by, the overall tattoo culture is drastically improving, especially amongst the younger generations. This is proven by the success of the very first Malta Tattoo Expo that we organised last year, which will take place again this year in October.  There are still a few misconceptions that need to be addressed and our evening aims to do just that.

Would you say that it’s a challenge to justify the artistic value of tattoos vs their artistic value?

Considering that in recent years tattoo acceptance has drastically improved, it has become less challenging to justify the artistic value of tattoos. However, if you had to ask this question to a hundred people, you would get a hundred different answers.  As they say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and it’s not just limited to paintings or sculptures, but there are several other art forms that one can enjoy – tattoos included.

To the general public, tattoos may represent a form of visual art but for the tattooed individual, those tattoos may carry a lot of sentimental value.  

What do you hope that people will get out of this event, and do you think you’ll be able to showcase the art of tattoos to people who may be skeptical about them?

The event will be aimed at both pro-tattoos and skeptics alike. A pro-tattoos individual will get a deeper understanding of his/her beloved art form while the skeptic will have the opportunity to experience what tattoos are really all about. The purpose of the event is by no means aimed at proselytizing. The goal is to give correct information, and while we will be there to help and discuss, everyone is and always will be entitled to his/her own opinion.

The Tattoo Culture will take place at Atriju Vassalli, University of Malta from 21:00.

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