Stats and Stories
Our grants making a difference

Dion Kaszas

Program and component
Creating, Knowing and Sharing, Travel

Community
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Field of practice
Customary Arts

Grant amount
$2,750

Fiscal year
2019–20

First-time recipient

A Grant Helps Indigenous Tattoo Artist Share His Work with New Zealand Audiences

A seated man tattooing another man’s left hand.
Dion Kaszas (left), at the New Zealand Tattoo and Art Extravaganza, 2019.

Dion Kaszas is known for using the traditional hand-tattooing methods of his Nlaka’pamux ancestors. In 2019, he spoke to a New Zealand audience about Indigenous tattooing in Canada.

Sharing an Indigenous tattooing art form with the world

Kaszas has been tattooing since 2009. Although he uses a range of techniques—from dot work to tribal, watercolour and more—he is best known for traditional Nlaka’pamux methods, like skin stitching and hand-poke techniques. He travelled to Aotearoa, New Zealand, in 2019 to attend the Ngā Uri o Muturangi gathering and New Zealand Tattoo and Art Extravaganza. While there, he delivered a presentation about the revival of Indigenous tattooing in Canada and nurtured relationships with Indigenous cultural tattoo practitioners from across the globe.

Creating a global community of Indigenous artists

While in New Zealand, Kaszas attended workshops on traditional tools used by other cultures, which inspired him to begin researching the use of bone tools and traditional inks. The event created a space for Indigenous tattoo artists and practitioners from around the world, and Kaszas is now also mulling over how to create something similar in Canada. The revival of Indigenous tattooing supports healing from trauma while also strengthening and empowering community members. 

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Tagged As Stats and Stories Nova Scotia Visual Arts Creating, Knowing and Sharing Travel