Top fashion magazine’s oldest artist, 106-year-old tattoo artist given place, know why she is special


106-year-old traditional tattoo artist ‘Apo Wang-od’ featured on cover of fashion magazine
Wang-od began learning the indigenous tradition of hand tattooing as a teenager
This art can only be given to blood relatives

Manila, The 106-year-old traditional tattoo artist ‘Apo Whang-Od’ and also known as Maria Oge will be the oldest person to grace the prestigious cover of fashion magazine Vogue. With white hair, this artist is looking very attractive with heavy tattoos. Apo Wang-od, who lives in the mountainous village of Buscalan in the Philippines’ Kalinga province, began learning the indigenous tradition of hand tattooing as a teenager. A cultural icon in his own right, Wang-od is believed to be the oldest, and perhaps the last, mambatok (traditional Kalinga tattoo artist).

Once reserved for warriors of the Butbut tribe, tattoos had high cultural significance and were hard-earned. Now, Wang-od works mostly with international visitors, who make the long pilgrimage to Kalinga for her famous geometric designs. As long as people keep coming to get tattoos done, they believe this tradition will continue.

On the safety of the processes of Kalinga tattoo artistry, Apo Wang-Od told CNN Travel that she is the only person who does this tattoo but she is currently teaching it to many young people. For this reason, even after his death, he hopes that this art of tattooing will continue. For several years now, she has been teaching her granddaughters Eliang Vigan and Grace Palikas how to make tattoos using only bamboo sticks, thorns from pomelo trees, water and charcoal. The art can only be passed down to blood relatives, and Wang-Od is training the next generation just as her father once trained her.

Tags: Artists, tattoos


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