Traditionally, a “rite of entry” is the celebration of a transition, when a person leaves or enters one group. The idea is that civilizations can be arranged in a hierarchy, with the lowest levels representing the most primitive level of development. This implies that all social groups within a given society have a magico-religious basis. Many groups within the modern industrialized society still practice traditions that date back to a sacred period. The rite of entry is a ritual or ceremony that must be performed to pass between groups.
In the initial phase, people prepare to leave their current place and status. During the separation phase there is often an “uncoupling” from one’s former self. This is symbolized through symbolic rituals and actions, such as cutting off hair for someone who has just joined the army. For example, a new recruit to the army might have their hair cut.
The civilian is being “cut away”. It is debatable whether getting a tattoo today is based on a spiritual superstructure. What was once taboo, scrutinized, and now mainstream is the tattooing industry. The meaning of piercing, branding and other forms of body modification is different for each individual. The festival celebrates creativity and connects individuals through body arts to be an inclusive and diverse event.
Rites of Passage, which lasted three days, featured over 250 tattoo artists around the world. These included Nikki Hurtado of Anchor Collective, who specialized human portraiture, Aniela Frudum from Sweden and a variety of Australian artists, including Khan, Mystik Tattoos and Jake Danielson. They also showcased the professionalism of their industry.
Rites of Passage was filled with live entertainment and featured Moto X Freestyle Action featuring Australia’s most prominent motocross teams Freestyle Kings and Battle of the Bands. It also included competitions and seminars on tattoo skills for budding and experienced artists. Rhys Gordon, a renowned tattoo artist who has a deep understanding of Japanese mythology and tattoo culture, curated an exhibition of art based on Australian tattoo history.
Rites of Passage Fest is a manifestation of how attitudes toward tattooing have changed over the years. Artists from all backgrounds, but primarily from the fine arts world, are bringing new ideas to the table and expanding what people thought was possible.
The team that designed Rites of Passage was able to create an inclusive, eclectic experience. This is an event everyone will enjoy and one you should save for 2017.