Mixed Tribal Influences

I absolutely love the mix of indigenous influences in this stunning backpiece by artist Phil Cummins of The Antahkarana (website coming soon to Theantahkarana.com). Obviously the Samoan and other Polynesian motifs are the most obvious, and you can see a very large Haida-like animal totem covering the entire lower back, and that’s only scraping the surface of it. Phil’s work is some of the best neotribal out there right now, and it’s always a great pleasure to see the latest coming out of his studio. Some people might find it offensive to mix these traditional designs into something new, but I think that not just carrying forward this art and culture, but respectfully blending it into something that represents our new global culture, is a very forward thinking way of celebrating humanity’s past traditions.


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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

2 thoughts on “Mixed Tribal Influences

  1. Ah, Shannon, indigenous peoples don’t want to be part of an assimilationist “global” culture. It’s enough effort just to have their own cultures survive in the face of neoliberalism/globalisation.

    I like this bodysuit. And the person wearing it, and the tattooist who did it, may genuinely love and respect the cultures from which inspiration has been drawn. But I’d wager any number of the peoples whose artwork is blended here will find it offensive.

    The idea of a global culture chills me, creeps me out. I don’t want to be part of a homogenised, whitewashed culture. I like difference. I’m constantly having to tell people here in New Zealand that no, we’re not all the same, and that’s okay. Differences make for interesting, enriching experiences. Creating a single, homogenised culture breeds racism when those who partake in the new singular culture see the “savages” refusing to be subsumed within it. “Oh you filthy savages, why refuse civilisation? Do you honestly WANT to remain uncivilised?”

    None of the influences in that backpiece are “past traditions.” They’re still alive and well. It’s not honouring the past so much as its taking from a living culture and creating something commodified and palatable to the mainstream.

    And with that barrage of crap said, let me again reiterate that I do like this. But let’s not wax too philosophical about its implications. Oh, and F*CK finally some meaty posts to sink my teeth into. Bring on more, Shannon!!!

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