HANDPOKE TATTOO DEATH CEREMONY
“ Handpoke Tattoo Death Ceremony: What is My Name, Pain is Forever “
Wooden platform, wooden meditation seat, tray, tattoo needles and ink, candle, incense, mirror, pujok (talismans), handmade white uniform, Korean Hanbok
Duration: 3 hours
Credit: Hannah Knight (tattoo artist), Devan Burgess (photos)
In Korean culture, a prominent superstition is the act of writing your name in red ink- signifying death (whether presently or soon to be). Writing someone else’s name in red ink can also serve as a death wish.
As a ceremonial endurance performance of my death, my formal Korean name was handpoke tattooed on my arm for three hours.
The juxtaposition of traditional versus modern translates to the struggles of my racial identity as a Korean American. Performing my own death ceremony allowed healing from the death of my other self- with the tattoo as evidence, like a scar.