Visual arts



Information on the activity

August 10, 2022 to August 15, 2022

My name is Gordon Sparks and I am a Mi’kmaq tattoo and sculpture artist. I’m from Pabineau First Nation in Bathurst, N.B. I have been tattooing professionally for over twenty years, but I first started tattooing myself at the age of eight. Tattooing has been in my blood since I was a little boy, and now tattooing is my life. Tattooing to me is one way to connect to my ancestors and to heal people with the gift of applying ink into their skin. In return they give blood and pain sacrifice for the design. It’s the sincerest definition of trust between two people, because they don’t know me personally, and they only know my work. From that observation of my work, they chose me to apply ink into their flesh that will be on them for the remainder of their life.

For myself, the tattoo is a healing medicine of our ancestors. Tattooing has saved my life. The tattoo I have on my body is made up of one full-body design that represents the land I am from, to honour our life givers and our life protectors. My body suit integrates the language of the land that I am from. I have been the sole owner of my tattoo business since 2012, “Ink Machine Tattoo Studio.” I subcontract with other tattoo shops so I can have the chance to travel when I please and have the benefits that come with owning a business number. My tattoo work has been now leaning towards developing a tattoo style for the Mi’kmaq. I believe when one is to use the traditional hand carved wooden masks, tattoos, and oral storytelling, all together, they become a powerful healing medicine.