Deep in the jungles of Borneo live the last headhunter cannibal tattooists
I’m tattoo artist Fade FX and along with film maker Tom Kelly I will be travelling deep into the inhospitable jungles of Borneo on a journey into the ancient past of tattooing. Along the way I will look at the plight of the indigenous people under threat from deforestation and try to find a solution to how the rainforest, its wildlife and people can be saved.
Travel is in my blood and my upbringing was far from conventional. I spent my formative years crisscrossing Europe in vintage 1959 Bedford Embassy bus with my bohemian family. I have tattooed all over the world, met some unforgettable people and been to some amazing places but my spiritual home is Borneo. It was deep in the rainforests by the mystical Skrang river that I learned the ancient art of hand tapped tattooing from a one of the last Iban tribal elders skilled in the indigenous arts. The Iban tribe were once feared by Europeans as fierce head hunting cannibals but their hand tapped tattoos are some of the most beautiful in the world.
As one of a handful of westerners entrusted with this scared knowledge I feel it is my duty to go back to Borneo to highlight the plight of the forest people whose land is being destroyed by loggers and culture is under threat from a hostile modern world. This November Tom and his camera will follow me up the Skrang river as I seek out the last of the Iban tribal tattooists and look to find a way to preserve the rainforest and its ancient traditions.
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