Contemporary culture has become obsessed with ink; tattoos have become the norm and not the exception. It used to be taboo for fashion models to have tattoos and employees were asked to hide their tats while at work – but all of that has shifted. Tattoos might get you the job these days, when it the past it may have meant losing the job. But the concept of marking one’s body with ink is not new; tattooing has a long history throughout many cultures.  If you are drawn to the beauty of body art and what to explore more of the history of ink, you need to check out the exhibit Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art. at the Royal Ontario Museum.

This exhibition was first mounted at the musée du quai Branly in Paris, where it received rave reviews. This curated collection of images and artifacts (over 200 objects) explores the 5000-year-old multifaceted world of tattooing, showcasing a visual history of body art and body markings. The exhibit traces the practice of tattoo across contents, cultures, and over time; it examines not only the tattoo artists and the tattooed but explores what makes tattooing such a cultural phenomenon. Highlights include thirteen commissioned tattooed silicone body reproductions, inked by some of the most respected tattoo artists in the contemporary world, and nine documentary films from around the globe.

“The exhibition brings to life the more than 5,000 year-old history of tattoos, exploring these ancient practices and their significance. It will inspire ROM visitors to consider how the complex traditions of ink under skin are constantly changing and have led to the global phenomenon of body art,” Chris Darling, Senior Curator.

The ROM is asking the public to partake in the show by submitting their own tattoos through Instagram with the hashtag #ROMInk. The show runs from April 2nd until September 5th, 2016. For more information visit,