On November 11th, the Estonian Folk Museum in Tartu will host the highly anticipated Street Mirror Expo, a lifestyle event that places the art of tattoos in the spotlight. This year’s expo promises an exciting tattoo competition, bringing together the finest studios and artists from Estonia and neighboring countries.
The Street Mirror Expo serves as a platform for visitors to immerse themselves in the world of tattoo art, providing insights into the culture and creativity that surrounds it. One of the main highlights of this event is undoubtedly the tattoo competition, where local and international tattoo artists will showcase their skills and creations.
The competition will feature a remarkable 13 categories, each celebrating a unique aspect of tattoo artistry. From the intricate and expansive “sleeve” tattoos to the mesmerizing world of realism, from innovative new school designs to classic black and grey styles, this competition encompasses the full spectrum of tattoo art. Among the categories, there is even a special recognition for the “Best National Tattoo,” paying homage to Estonia’s rich cultural heritage.
But how many tattoos will be inked throughout the day? Eero Soomere, the main organizer of Street Mirror Expo, estimates that hundreds of art pieces will be etched onto skin during the event. It’s a testament to the passion and dedication of the approximately 80 artists participating.
Interestingly, the Estonian Folk Museum is hosting an exhibition titled “Õige keha, vale keha?” (The Right Body, the Wrong Body?), which aligns harmoniously with the themes of Street Mirror Expo 2023. This exhibition explores the societal constructs of what is considered “right” or “wrong” regarding the human body. It delves into the idea that perceptions of beauty, naturalness, and even abnormality vary across cultures and evolve.
Kertu Saks, the director of the Estonian Folk Museum, notes that hosting various communities has provided invaluable learning opportunities. The diverse range of experiences and perspectives has enabled the museum to curate high-quality exhibitions, including those related to the human body.
Tattoo art has been celebrated for centuries, with the body serving as a canvas for conveying messages, practicing protective rituals, and creating beauty. The inclusion of a tattoo art-focused event at the Estonian Folk Museum not only complements the ongoing body-themed exhibition but also offers inspiration for future exhibitions. This commitment to exploring the significance of body modification and cultural expression is further reflected in the upcoming show “Kellele Club öö” (Whose Night Is It?), slated to open in January 2024.
In addition to the tattoo competition and related workshops, Street Mirror Expo offers a thought-provoking discussion titled “Kehamuutmistehnikad” (Body Modification Techniques). Curated by Katrin Alekand and Oskar Poll, the organizers of the “Õige keha, vale keha?” exhibition, this discussion invites participants to engage in conversations about the concept of the “right” and “wrong” body. Topics include what constitutes a natural body and what can be deemed provocative or unsettling. It’s a dialogue that challenges societal norms and perceptions surrounding body modification.
The inaugural Street Mirror Expo took place in 2010 at the Rock Cafe, marking the beginning of an event that has become an essential celebration of tattoo art and body modification culture.
The Street Mirror Expo is a unique convergence of artistic expression, cultural exploration, and the celebration of the rich history of tattoo art. It invites attendees to consider the ever-evolving definitions of beauty, authenticity, and personal expression while highlighting the artistry of tattoo culture. With the combination of a tattoo competition, exhibitions, workshops, and engaging discussions, this event is not only a feast for the eyes but also an opportunity to delve into the intricacies of body art and cultural heritage. Whether you’re a tattoo enthusiast or a curious visitor, the Street Mirror Expo promises an unforgettable experience that embodies the essence of body art and cultural exploration.
What are your thoughts on the fusion of tattoo art and cultural exploration at Street Mirror Expo 2023? Have you ever participated in or attended a tattoo competition? Share your insights in the comments below.