The Modern Mambabatok: Lane Wilcken and Filipino Tattooing in the Diaspora

“Cultural tattooing is a ritual. There are chants, prayers and offerings to gods/ancestors to whom these tattoos are dedicated. Blessings, and sometimes curses are invoked in bestowing these designs, as well as being marks of prestige, heritage, and history. Modern western tattooing is the result of taking indigenous practices and stripping them of their spiritual, and cultural qualities leaving only the ‘art’ upon the skin. The recipient is left to make their own meaning for the designs rather than receive sacred ritual marks that are recognized by generations upon generations of ancestors. Let us work to decolonize tattooing and restore its honor.”
– Lane Wilcken



Filmmaker Kayla Sotomil


The Team

Branding & Graphic Designer Sophie Taylor and Interior Designer & Decorator Dima Ahmad are the creatives behind the Art of Design.