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Fashion magazine’s oldest artist, 106-year-old tattoo artist, knows why she’s special



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106-year-old traditional tattoo artist ‘Apo Wang-od’ on the cover of a fashion magazine
Wang-od began learning the indigenous tradition of hand tattooing as a teenager
This art can only be given to blood relatives

Manila, The 106-year-old traditional tattoo artist “Apo Whang-Od”, also known as Maria Oge, will be the oldest person to appear on the prestigious cover of fashion magazine Vogue. With white hair, this performer looks very attractive with heavy tattoos. Apo Wang-od, who lives in the mountainous village of Buscalan in the province of Kalinga in the Philippines, began learning the indigenous tradition of hand tattooing as a teenager. A cultural icon in his own right, Wang-od is considered the oldest, and possibly the last, mambatok (traditional Kalinga tattoo artist).

Once reserved for the warriors of the Butbut tribe, tattoos held great cultural significance and were hard earned. Now Wang-od mainly works with international visitors, who make the long pilgrimage to Kalinga for his famous geometric designs. As long as people continue to come for tattoos, they believe this tradition will continue.

On the safety of the Kalinga tattoo art process, Apo Wang-Od told CNN Travel that she is the only person to do this tattoo but currently teaches it to many young people. For this reason, even after his death, he hopes that this tattoo art will continue. For several years she has been teaching her granddaughters Eliang Vigan and Grace Palikas how to make tattoos using only bamboo sticks, pomelo thorns, water and charcoal. The art can only be passed down to blood relatives, and Wang-Od trains the next generation just as her father once trained her.

Tags: Artist, tattoos