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Synopses & Reviews
It’s no secret that tattoos have become a commonly accepted and popular form of self-expression; people young and old wear sleeves of ink and florid designs peek out from waistband and shirt collars. Over the past few years, however, a new genre of tattoos has emerged: Arabic tattoos.
Although Islam prohibits tattooing, Arabic Tattoos documents the reasons why people from the United States and Europe get these tattoos, ranging from names converted from Latin alphabets to Arabic, to bold words like “infidel” emblazoned on US soldiers returning to Iraq.
Jon Udelson, the book’s compiler, writes, “These tattoos signify more than the words and designs they showcase upon a person’s skin. They are representative of the this crucial point in modern time where cultural awareness, acceptance, and, unfortunately, fear, are salient aspects of global culture.”
Along with the photographs of these tattoos and the stories from their recipients, designers and inkers, essays from tattoo expert Clayton Patterson and Egyptian artist Hamdi Attia provide a thoughtful context for these tattoos.
The purpose of Arabic Tattoos is to illuminate questions like "To whom does a language belong?" and in doing so add to an ever expanding public discourse that involves philosophy, religion, politics and art, arriving at a higher understanding of this multi-cultural world in which we live.
The growing popularity of Arabic tattoos shows how Arabic-speaking cultures have impacted the world at large.
It's no secret that tattoos have become a commonly accepted and popular form of self-expression; people young and old wear sleeves of ink. or intimate little designs that peek out from the top of a waistband or the collar of a shirt. Over the past few years, however, a sub-genre of tattoos has emerged, making for elegant designs of ink on skin and compelling cross-cultural markers: Arabic tattoos. Although Islam prohibits tattooing, there has been a surge in recent years of non-Muslims getting Arabic tattoos. From names converted from Latin to Arabic script, to words such as love and peace, the popularity of Arabic tattoos shows the extent of the impact that Arabic-speaking cultures have made on the world at large - from urban hipsters to bona fide celebrities (both Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have Arabic tattoos). Arabic Tattoos documents this trend with color photographs, stories behind the tattoos and essays that examine the cultural ramifications of non-Arabic speaking individuals wearing religiously and culturally rich scripts.
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