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P E R S E V E R A N C E

Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World

MARCH 8 – SEPTEMBER 14, 2014

Source: www.janm.org

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About the Exhibition

Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World explores the artistry of traditional Japanese tattoos along with its rich history and influence on modern tattoo practices in this groundbreaking photographic exhibition.

As Japanese tattoos have moved into the mainstream, the artistry and legacy of Japanese tattooing remain both enigmatic and misunderstood. Often copied by practitioners and aficionados in the West without regard to its rich history, symbolism, or tradition, the art form is commonly reduced to a visual or exotic caricature. Conversely, mainstream Japanese culture still dismisses the subject itself as underground, associating it more with some of its clientele than with the artists practicing it. Both of these mindsets ignore the vast artistry and rich history of the practice.

Although tattooing is largely seen as an underground activity in Japan, Japanese tattoo artists have pursued their passions, applied their skills, and have risen to become internationally acclaimed artists. Through the endurance and dedication of these tattoo artists, Japanese tattooing has also persevered and is now internationally renowned for its artistry, lineage, historical symbolism, and skill.

Curated by Takahiro Kitamura and photographed and designed by Kip FulbeckPerseverance is a groundbreaking exhibition and the first of its kind. Perseverance will explore Japanese tattooing as an art form by acknowledging its roots in ukiyo-e prints. This exhibition will also examine current practices and offshoots of Japanese tattooing in the U.S. and Japan.

Perseverance features the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists, HoritakaHoritomoChris Horishiki BrandMiyazoShigeJunii, and Yokohama Horiken, along with tattoo works by selected others. Through the display of a variety of photographs, including life-sized pictures of full body tattoos, these artists will cover a broad spectrum of the current world of Japanese tattooing.

Premier Sponsor

Mariko Gordon and Hugh Cosman

Patron Sponsors

Friends
LS Tattoo Museum
Pasadena Art Alliance
UCSB Academic Senate
UCSB Department of Art

Supporters
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Richard Ross
Samy’s Camera
Spoonflower, Inc.
Target
Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation

Media Sponsor
The Rafu Shimpo


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Tattoo Decision Flow Chart

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What Makes Tattoos Permanent?

Claudia Aguirre

TED-Ed


Tattoo Age: Freddy Corbin Part 1

By Vice


Visions From Venice: Part 1

By Melissa Fusco

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For a few years now, I have had a strong desire to visit the land of my great grandparents and become immersed in my ‘genetic roots’. Italy, my much anticipated trip, has arrived…

Outside of conventions, guest spots and gatherings in the states, I crave a culture change and new scenery at least once a year.  I was meeting a friend here in Venice, unfortunately for good reason she was unable to make the first leg of the trip. So I prepared as best as I could to be in Italy for 6 days before the Rome convention, alone.

For more than half of my life, about 20 years now I have traveled alone more times than accompanied by a travel companion. No doubt I would enjoy a companion on my travels, however, there is something precious about solo travel and how it contributes to my inner self. It helps build my confidence and aids in my personal growth. For me, when I travel, I prefer to live amongst the locals, so first thing off the plane, I find my way to the small water taxi dock. I purchased a water taxi pass on-line that would take me from the airport to the nearest taxi stop from my hotel destination. After the taxi makes a few stops along the way, I finally arrive at my exit and play the alley way game to find my hotel. Hotel Tiepolo, is settled down the alley that runs directly along side the Piazza San Marco. One of the most visited tourist landmarks on the S. Marco Island in Venice. I thought I was a little further away from this touristy area and at first was a little let down by the busyness of the surrounding areas.  However, I feel I couldn’t have picked a greater location.

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When I depart from the front door of the hotel, which is located at the end of an alley, I weave my way through narrow alley ways that ended at the water front Palazzo. I quickly find myself amongst the crowd. The sounds of sea gulls, water taxi’s, sales men, and tourist chatter fill the breezy ocean air. Kiosks filled the waterfront walkway selling duplicate Venezia souvenirs, scarf’s, hats and Italian leather handbags. Landscape artists work amongst rip off Coach bag sellers, and not to forget the slightly annoying single rose auctioneers.  The phrase “ no thank you” leaves my lips more times then I could count throughout the day. I quickly head to the water taxi stop titled S. Marco  Zaccaria.

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10 Life Lessons People with Tattoos Can Teach You

By Kayla Matthews

www.lifehack.org

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1.  Your standards are the only ones that matter

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Of course not everyone will think that your new chest piece is as gorgeous as you do, but why should that matter?

As long as you love the way it looks and feel great about yourself because of it, those stares on the street are laughable.

2. First impressions aren’t always right

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Anyone with tattoos or a heavily tattooed friend can tell you this life lesson is true. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched perfectly nice, loving, and intelligent people get judged because of their ink.

Having tattoos and knowing people with tattoos teaches you to not place value on appearances and, instead, spend more time getting to know new people.

3. Pain is temporary

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This, for sure, is something every tattoo-ee can attest to. Regardless of your pain tolerance, you’re bound to encounter one tattoo that hurts like a B. But making it through a painful tattooing experience just makes you more proud of the end result.

Sometimes we forget that painful things can lead to great things, but I think tattoos are a fabulous reminder of that.

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*NEW* Photos Added To The Gallery

Tattoos by Chris Stuart

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Ace Custom Tattoo, Charlotte, NC

www.chrisstuarttattooing.com

www.facebook/chrisstuarttattooing.com


Marked up | Episode 1

By Skeetv

Skee. TV presents Marked Up Episode 1 featuring pro BMX rider Rick Thorne & Celebrity tattoo artist Danny Balena.  Marked Up is a new look into the culture and lifestyle of the art of tattoos.  In this series we will talk to celebs, tattoo artists and people of all ages and aspects of life to see what their tattoos mean, the story of why and why not to get them and how the culture has evolved thus far.


Athletes’ Tattoo Artists File Copyright Suits, Leaving Indelible Mark

By Jacob Gersham

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Carlos Condit, who has a lion tattoo on his rib cage, gives a knee to Nick Diaz. Associated Press

Randy Harris worries that lawyers are leaving a stain on the tattoo world.

A court tattooist to basketball royalty, Mr. Harris says he has inked dozens of NBA players, drawing everything from a giant tree on Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis, to a beady-eyed owl on Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, to a basketball-toting angel on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.

Recently, he has found himself shaking his head at the litigious direction of his image-conscious occupation as the question of who owns a tattoo has become a source of tension.

To him, it’s simple: “Once they paid for the tattoos, man, they paid for it,” he said from his shop south of Atlanta.

Other tattooists say the issue isn’t that clear, especially in the case of sports videogames, which digitally re-create not just the bodies of athletes, but often their body art as well.

Phoenix-based tattoo artist Chris Escobedo took an intellectual property rights training course and in 2012 sued now-bankrupt videogame developer THQ Inc. over a mixed-martial arts game in which one of his tattoos—a large, scowling lion on the right rib cage of Ultimate Fighting Championship star Carlos Condit—makes a cameo appearance.

Last year he settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed sum, he said.

“They’re doing it without consulting the original artists, and that’s what makes it illegal,” he said. “I’m the little guy in this situation.”

Such lawsuits have left a mark. When videogame giant EA Sports, a brand of Electronic Arts Inc., EA +0.11% developed its own fighting game featuring Mr. Condit, which will be released this week, it left out the lion, causing gamers to growl. Electronic Arts declined to comment.

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STUNNING TATTOOED CERAMIC LADIES: WE INTERVIEWED THE ARTIST BEHIND THEM

By Indigo del Castillo

www.lostateminor.com

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Sculptor Jessica Harrison has forever changed how we see Victorian-era ceramic figures with her works involving ladies in fancy dresses sporting badass tattoos or their own blood and guts. In this exclusive interview, she talks more about her roots as an artist and her unique take on ceramics. [read our original posts about her sculptures here and here]

How did you discover your passion for sculpture?
When I was little I wanted to work in animation – there were quite a few great children’s tv programs on in the 80’s that were made with 3D models and I decided quite early on it looked like the best job in the world to mess around with clay all day.

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Let’s talk about your grotesque ceramic ladies with severed heads and misplaced body parts. Where did you get the inspiration for this collection? What was the message you were trying to convey here?
That series is called ‘Broken’ as the pieces are made using found ceramics that I have quite literally taken a hammer and chisel to.They present an impossibly fair-skinned ‘perfect’ woman and my attraction to these works was precisely because of this image they portray of the female body – my aim was to counter it and present its opposite within itself.

This was simple to do, by breaking apart the hollow cast pieces and ‘revealing’ the interior, a standard formula in Western knowledge for making discoveries about the body. The female interior is a space still laced with taboo in a way that the male interior is not, and for me this gender bias of what is most often an invisible space in our everyday lives was a fascinating and important one to address. This series, like my other works in stone, ceramics, silicone and ink comes from exploring shared ideas about the body, unraveling shared experiences of different spaces, textures and shapes.

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Do you have any memorable reactions and responses regarding the macabre ceramics?
Not really, the pieces from the ‘Broken’ series are very bland to me before I break them. I think they make more sense in their altered form.

Seeing as you’ve been into sculpture all your artistic life, how difficult was it to move into tattoo art in your series about the Victorian-era ladies with tattoos?
It wasn’t difficult as it is not something different. I’m using the tattoo in this series to explore the skin space rather than creating any tattoo art itself, which is a completely different thing. Tattooing is not a painting or a drawing onto a static plane, it is incredibly sculptural, literally threading ink into a moving surface, one that has no flat surfaces.

So although the pieces are called ‘Painted Ladies’ in reference to the old term for a tattooed woman, they in fact draw from something incredibly sculptural and active in space, the skin.

The tattoo imagery I have used is all from war-time source imagery, to recall a time before the popularity boom of the tattoo when it may be pointed more towards a particular kind of harsher life. The idea was to present opposing outer layers, contrasting skins, where masculine illustrations are intertwined with overtly over-idealized feminine costume. The viewer is presented with the question of what we are supposed to consider beautiful, which costume to believe.

How long did it take you to finish a piece?
A long time, that’s why there are only a few, and why there are unlikely to be any more!

Do you have anything you’re currently working on that we should look out for?
I have an exhibition opening at Jupiter Artland in Edinburgh this July. It’s going to be very pink…

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*NEW* Photos Added To The Gallery

Tattoos by Victor Policheri

www.viptattoo.com

Heidi Hay Tattoo

Gothenburg, Sweden

IG: @viptattoo

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Arts In Context | A Moving Canvas

A message from Kate Hellenbrand:

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TODAY is the DAY!!!

PBS SPECIAL airing TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m. here in AUSTIN, Central Time~
Available on line thru their website tomorrow for the rest of the world to see.
This isn’t some crappy “reality” TV SHOW. This is a respectful overview of the real art of tattoo. It’s PBS, people!
I’ve continued to turn down “Ink Disaster” and “Tattoo Titans” and all the other crap thrown at me that is made up and disrespectful to my glorious art/craft. Thankfully, I held out. I am proud. And even though haters will pick it apart, I say: SUCK IT!
I am almost excited enough to buy a TV (which I don’t have) and subscribe to cable (which I won’t do) so gratefully I’m going to watch at Chris Kirkpatrick’s home with his lovely wife Christine. He’s the client
getting the girl with the cobra that you’ll see.

LEMME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

And we have some photos up on the website: www.artsincontext.org
and also on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ArtsInContext


Freehand Tattoo by Carl Grace


Stay Humble with Dave Wah: The Exclusive Tattoo Snob Interview

By Kevin Miller
www.tattoosnob.com
I generally excited about everything that’s posted on Tattoo Snob, but I’m really excited about my interview with Dave Wah. Dave has been killing it for a long time, and he recently opened Stay Humble Tattoo Company in Baltimore, Maryland. I shot Dave a handful of questions about his tattooing, opening up a new shop, who inspires him, and what else he has lined up for 2014.
This interview is a must read. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be checking flight prices and planning a tattoo getaway to Baltimore by the end of the interview.
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Tattoo Snob: For those who aren’t familiar with your work, can you give them the basics?
Dave Wah: I guess I would consider myself to be an artist who likes to do a little bit of everything. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great veteran artists over the years, including Uncle Pauly and Eric Gregory, who really stressed the importance of being versatile. My work ranges from realism to traditional, however I do try to incorporate my own style into everything. I think the range of styles I use keeps me motivated to keep creating. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or bad thing that I don’t have a particular style, all I know is I love going to work everyday.
TSdave-wah-1-214x300: Let’s talk about Stay Humble Tattoo. Tell us a little about the shop, and what led you to this path.
DW: I opened Stay Humble Tattoo Company in Baltimore, Maryland last october and things have been amazing ever since. The time just seemed right to head out on my own, I’ve developed a large clientele base and I’ve always wanted to work closer to the city. My father has owned his own business for over 35 years and he always taught me the benefits of working for yourself. I also had the benefit of working under Vinnie Myers for the past 5 years, and he is easily one of the most successful people in tattooing.
It’s a second floor shop, and I set it up to be a semi-private studio. There’s limited signage outside and you kind of have to know I’m there to even know it’s a tattoo shop. I tattoo by appointment only and it’s a super laid back environment. It’s kind of nice having a little hidden place to do my work.
TS: Your work ranges from black and grey, to traditional, to neo-traditional, to realistic. How did this come about? Do you have a preferred style?
DW: I think there’s a few factors that led to me doing so many different styles. I think the number one reason is I truly love almost every style of tattooing. I never understood artists who only liked one style and hated everything else. There’s value in so many different styles of tattooing. Another thing that led to me being diverse is my background in realism. As a kid growing up my focus in drawing was realism, so when I got into tattooing I was able to incorporate realistic techniques into traditional tattoo designs. The last reason is that it took me a long time to figure out how to do a solid tattoo, I worked at street shops and I kind of jumped around trying different things to find what was right for me. Tattooing is hard.
My favorite style tends to be illustrated realism, not even sure if that’s an actual style haha.
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TS: With being comfortable in so many different styles, do you suggest different styles based on the subject matter or what the client asks for?
DW: I’m very fortunate that most of my clients tend to let me do whatever style I want. Once they give me the subject of their tattoo I consider what style I think it would look best in, and what style would look best on them. I’m also very aware of my limitations as a tattooer, so I think about how I can utilize my strengths to make the tattoo work.
TS: I see your website states that you no longer do coverups. Why is that? Does this include lasered pieces?
DW: The short answer is that coverups are a pain in the ass and they stress me out. I will cover lasered pieces if they are light enough, I’ll also cover up small tattoos if it’s fairly easy. It’s such a shame that so many people are looking for cover ups these days, unfortunately I think the problem is only going to get worse over time.
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TS: Outside of tattooing, what do you do in your spare time?
DW: Spare time is pretty hard to come by these days, tattooing is pretty much my whole life. When I’m not working or drawing tattoos I spend a lot of time looking at tattoos online, good ones and bad ones. Other than tattoo related stuff I spend a lot of time in my basement studio recording and writing music. I’m really lucky to have a wife that gives me a good amount of freedom.
TS: Which tattoo artists inspire you? What about outside of the tattoo world?
DW: My favorite tattoo artist is Seth Wood. I don’t think I’ve seen a tattoo of his that I didn’t love. Some other artists who constantly amaze me are Jim Sylvia, Stefan Johnsson, Peter Lagergren, Mike Stockings, Emily Rose Murray, and Mike Moses, just to name a handful. I think we’re very fortunate to live in a time when everyone’s work is so readily available to see. I’ve only been tattooing a little over eleven years but I still remember having to wait for new magazines to come out see new work.
TS: Who was the last tattoo artist that tattooed you?
DW: The last two tattoos I got were from Steve Wimmer in Delaware and from Seth Wood when he was still in Brooklyn. Both were really great experiences, it’s really cool to see how every shop has it’s own unique vibe.
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TS: Who do you want to get tattooed by?
DW: I’d love to get tattooed by Jim Sylvia, Grime, and of course Seth Wood again. There’s a bunch of artists in Maryland who I want to get work from, Jason Reeder, Gary Gerhardt, Thomas Kenney, and John Rippey, all those guys are killing it.
TS: Any travel plans for 2014?
DW: I think most of my traveling is done for 2014, my wife and I just had our first baby so I’m gonna hold off on traveling till the end of the year or the beginning of 2015. Between the baby, a new shop, and the new house we just built my plate is pretty full. I usually do about 5-6 conventions a year but I’d like to do a lot more conventions and guest spots in the future. I also need to get back out to see my friends at Memento Tattoo in Columbus, Ohio. Those guys are on another level.
TS: Any last words?
DW: I’m currently looking to set up a steady rotation of guest artists at my shop in Baltimore. Working by myself has been great, but you can learn so much more by working with other artists. If anyone wants to set up a guest spot send me an email to dave@davewah.com with a link to your portfolio. Thanks so much for supporting me and putting my work on your website, it really means the world to me.

Reviving the art of Filipino tribal tattoos

By Aya Lowe

Source: www.bbc.com

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Each tattoo is designed around an individual’s life story.

The Spanish conquistadors who landed in 1521 dubbed the Philippines the Islands of the Painted Ones after the heavily tattooed locals. Nearly 500 years on, tribal tattooing is almost extinct. Aya Lowe met the islands’ last practitioner and those trying to keep the tradition alive.

For more than eight decades, Whang-Od has been inking the headhunting warriors and women of her Kalinga tribe.

Using the traditional “tapping” style, dating back a thousand years, she hammers ink into the skin using the spike of a calmansi (lime) tree attached to a bamboo stick that has been dipped in wet charcoal.

The simple designs are evocative of the nature around her in the mountainous region of the Cordilleras – outlines of centipedes, trees and snakes or basic geometric patterns such as diamonds and squares.

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Kalinga tribal tattoo artist Whang-Od

These, she says, are “earthly messengers from the gods [that] protect you from enemies or bad spirits”.

Not for the light-hearted, this slow, primitive method is extremely painful and would have been endured for short periods only. Large tattoos might take several months to complete.

However, at 94, Whang-Od – whose own skin is etched with a variety of designs – is likely to be the last of her kind.

Training her niece

Tradition dictates that skills can only be passed down family lines. Having lost the love of her life at the age of 25 in a logging accident, Whang-Od did not marry again and bore no children.

“It can’t be passed on to anyone else,” she insists. “It has to be within the same family because if someone else who is not from the same bloodline starts tattooing, the tattoo will get infected.”

However, the young in her village are not keen on adopting the body work of their elders. Though she is training her niece to carry on her work, Whang-Od says that her young relative is more interested in her studies to become a teacher.

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The “tapping” tattoo method is extremely painful and can be endured for short periods only

The preservation of tribal tattooing may, however, lie thousands of miles away in Los Angeles, where a group of dedicated members of the Filipino diaspora has been working hard to ensure the tradition is not lost.

Tatak Ng Apat na Alon, which translates as “Mark of the Four Waves Tribe”, was formed nearly 15 years ago in Los Angeles by Filipino-Americans.

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The traditions of the Kalinga tribe elders are not being adopted by the younger generation

Their name is a reference to the “waves” of immigrants who came to the Philippines.

The group has grown to become a global community made up of hundreds of people with Filipino heritage looking to revive the tattooing traditions of Filipino tribes by having their designs etched on their skin.

 

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Tribal tattoos have been popular with the Filipino diaspora

“People are sacrificing their skin to revive this ancestral form of art and make sure it is not forgotten,” says Elle Festin, the co-founder of the community.

“The only way you can find proof of designs is through oral history and artefacts. The only way to stop it becoming obsolete is by reviving the designs.”

Having left the Philippines as a teenager, Mr Festin said his journey into the world of tribal tattooing became a way for him to connect with his own heritage, something he felt he had lost growing up in the US.

“Filipinos in the Philippines don’t need to define themselves, but for the Filipino diaspora many are looking for a connection back to their heritage,” he says.

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Filipino heritage is essential if someone wants to have a tribal tattoo.

“It’s more important for them to define themselves as Filipino in a foreign country.”

Tattoos were a prominent feature among pre-Hispanic tribes of the Philippines. They acted as a corporal roadmap designating people by tribe and rank, acting as a protection charm or medal, or as permanent make-up.

Dr Lars Krutak, a tattoo anthropologist in the Visayas region of the central Philippines, says traditional tattooing practices had vanished in the region by the 1700s because of the presence of the Spanish military and the influence of the Church.

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But in Mindanao, an island in the country’s far south, and the mountainous region of the Cordilleras – the home of Whang-Od – the practice survived because of the area’s remoteness and warrior tribes who successfully defended their ancestral homelands from foreign invaders, like the colonial Spanish.

Pilgrimage

People who receive a tattoo have to be of Filipino heritage. The artists work closely with their clients to research their family histories and life events to create a design.

“We were very careful about how it grew and who our tattoo artists were,” said Mr Festin. “We didn’t want it to go viral and turn into a trend like Polynesian designs. We wanted to encourage curiosity to getting people talking about the meaning behind the markings.”

In 2008, Mr Festin made perhaps the most important pilgrimage in his career as a tattooist when he returned to his homeland to visit Whang-Od and the Kalinga tribe.

“When I first met Whang-Od I was afraid of what she would think of my designs, especially as they were modified from original form,” he said.

“But she was impressed with my tools and asked me to tattoo her. You could tell she was experienced by the way she lay down and stretched her skin.”

While the sight of a fully tattooed man or woman is becoming a rarity in the Philippines, it is this small dedicated group of enthusiasts, far across the ocean, that is keeping the art form alive, hopefully for many decades to come.

About the author: Based in Manila, Aya Lowe writes business, travel and human interest stories around South East Asia and the Middle East.