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KEONE NUNES

MASTER TATTOOIST

The staccato tapping of Nunes’ moli is the sound of a craft he revived from the brink of westernized extinction. “I never set out to become a tattooist,” said Nunes. “I wanted to perpetuate a cultural practice. This is my kuleana.” For Nunes, tattooing is no mere surface adornment, it is a celebration of a visceral connection of a people to a place and to each other. “The people who receive the work, it changes them.”

“How many things can you participate in today that you can honestly say is the same as two thousand years ago? Once the individual lies down on the mat, what they’re  feeling is exactly the same as what their ancestors felt.”