A journey deep into the realm of tattoo art practice across three cultures – Japan, Polynesia and the West – uncovering its history and place in the modern world through live tattoo demonstrations, photography, illustration, film and artefacts.

Tattooing is one of the oldest underground art movements, steeped in history, love and honour. It’s a permanent and public form of art; personal stories are etched in lines and shadings, with new experiences memorialised, and scars both literal and figurative covered over.

aMBUSH Gallery presented ‘Behind the Lines’ – a fascinating exhibition that took the viewer deep into the world of tattoo art practice across three cultures – Asia (Japan), Polynesia and the West – and uncovered its history and place in the modern world through photography, illustration, film and artefacts.

Presented in partnership with Little Tokyo and Central Park Mall, Behind the Lines was a multidisciplinary group show that featured the work of leading tattooists in their chosen field. Rhys Gordon (Sydney) and Horiken (Tokyo) showcased the colourful and history-rich body suits of Japan, while Shane Gallagher displayed the deep, spiritual side of tattooing through the traditions of Polynesian and Maori tattoos, and Nixx gave us an interpretation of Chicano style tattooing that originated from the streets of LA.
Western-style tattooing and its influences on modern society were represented through Steve Smith’s pencil drawings, and Emma Salmon presented a perspective of tattooed women and how this body art enhances the female form.

Behind the Lines showcased large-scale tattooing, focusing on specialist styles and also gave a platform to exhibit Australia’s tattoo history through a timeline that documented the key players, events, and items that have influenced tattooing from past to present day.

Opening night was on Friday 15 July from 6-9pm at aMBUSH Gallery, Central Park Mall.

The exhibition culminated on 14 August with ‘Tattoo Sunday’, that featured special events from 1-4pm. It was both the closing of Behind The Lines and a live celebration of the various forms of tattooing from the featured artists, who not only wear their heart on their skin but gave life to the stunning art, film and photography on display.

Rhys Gordon, Horiken, Shane Gallagher Coley, Nixx, Steve Smith, Emma Salmon, Little Tokyo, Australian Tattoo History

Central Park Gallery
Level 3, Central Park Mall
Chippedale NSW 2008

+61 2 8399 0707