Tattoo art revealed sees major UK exhibition make Scottish debut in Ayr

 16 November 2018  |  


The eye-catching 100 hands landscape by Luke Hayes

The eye-catching 100 hands landscape by Luke Hayes

A major exhibition showcasing the eye-catching world of tattoo art is to make its Scottish debut in South Ayrshire. Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed is being brought to Rozelle House by South Ayrshire Council with the exhibition running for six weeks from Saturday, 19 January to Sunday, 3 March, 2019.

Showcasing the work of major tattoo artists from George Burchett, via the Bristol Tattoo Club, to Alex Binnie and Lal Hardy this is the largest gathering of real objects and original tattoo artwork ever assembled in the United Kingdom. The exhibition features items from three of the most important private collections of tattoo material in Britain, belonging to Willie Robinson, Jimmy Skuse, and Paul 'Rambo' Ramsbottom, providing a rare opportunity to display original artwork and artefacts not otherwise on public display. The exhibition also delves into previously unseen private archives that reveal hidden histories, including the incredible real story of Britain's pioneering female tattoo artist, Jessie Knight.

It's estimated that about one in five of the UK population is tattooed with the figure rising to one in three for young adults. And yet, while the visibility of tattooing in contemporary culture may feel like something new, tattoos and tattoo art have always held a significant place in Britain's history and historical imagination.

Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed has been curated by The National Maritime Museum Cornwall, an independent Museum based in Falmouth with guest curator Dr Matt Lodder. Organisers, Arts at Rozelle, are also working with Sean Cahill and Gordon Killin of the Petal Faced Gypsy Tattoo Studio in Prestwick, who will be showcasing their talent and skills live, in a specially built see-through studio to accompany the exhibition.

To accommodate the exhibition Rozelle House will be closed to free public access for the six weeks the exhibition runs, but with the grounds / tea room open as normal.

Councillor Brian McGinley, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio holder for Economy and Culture said the exhibition was a major coup for Arts at Rozelle, "This major event brings a unique exhibition to Scotland for the first time and we expect it to attract people from across Scotland as we showcase modern art in a way that's never been done before.

"We're committed to promoting South Ayrshire as a go-to destination and events like these go a long way to putting our museums and attractions firmly on the national map as a major player in Scotland's cultural calendar.

"To help bring this vibrant exhibition to life we're also working with a local tattooist to make live art for visitors to enjoy with a studio being set up in a see through box. It's an exciting time for Arts and Rozelle, and I'm looking forward to welcoming this truly unique event to Ayr as we kick start 2019 in style."

Among the 400 original artworks, photographs and historic artefacts is the striking '100 Hands Project', curated by Alice Snape of 'Things and Ink' magazine. This showcases one hundred lifelike silicone arms, each tattooed with an original design by 100 of the leading tattoo artists working across the UK.

National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Director Richard Doughty said, 'We're enormously proud of this ground breaking and award winning exhibition. This is the beginning of a national touring programme and we're delighted to be able to take the exhibition to audiences across the country."

A discounted rate of £5 is available for all early bird bookings received before Saturday, 19 January. When the exhibition starts full price tickets cost £7 per adult with the discounted rate of £5 available for young people aged 12-18 and for people claiming income related benefits. Entry for the under 12s is free.

John Walker Chair of the Maclaurin Trust said, "This is a new and exciting venture for Arts at Rozelle that we are greatly looking forward to as it's bound to attract a totally different audience. Tattooing has a long and fascinating history, but it is only really in the 21st Century that is has become such a ubiquitous area of body art."

Tickets will be available from the Ayr Gaiety box office from Monday, 19 November.