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INK IN THE LINES: Powerful military tattoo exhibition hits Newcastle

Ink in the Lines, the newest exhibition to hit Newcastle Museum, tells the Australian military story through tattoos.

Curated by the Australian War Memorial, the powerful photographic display will give visitors a chance to get up close and personal with 76 photographic portraits, each telling a unique story of service life and sacrifice.

Audio interviews also play throughout the exhibition with each participant explaining why they chose to commemorate and honour their service or the service of their loved ones through tattooing.

“Behind every tattoo is a story. Ink in the Lines does what no other exhibition in Australia has done – it shares stories of Australia’s military veterans through their tattoos,” Australian War Memorial senior curator Stephanie Boyle said.

“Personal stories are the cornerstone of the exhibition. Every veteran who participated in the commission volunteered to share their experiences and motivation for getting inked. Some stories are painful, others inspiring, all are deeply personal.

“Through powerful images and stories, the exhibition provides an engaging and interactive platform for the examination and understanding of contemporary tattooing in today’s Defence Forces.”

Set within the context of the broader history of tattooing in Australian military forces, the exhibition will no doubt resonates with locals, given our strong military heritage.

Newcastle Museum director Julie Baird with Councillor Carol Duncan
Newcastle Museum director Julie Baird with Councillor Carol Duncan

“Ink in the Lines demonstrates the Museum’s commitment to providing quality exhibitions that appeal to a wide range of audiences and provide insight into a diverse range of subjects that help us understand our history and identity,” City of Newcastle Director of Museum, Archive, Libraries and Learning, Julie Baird said.

“Tattoo art is an incredibly popular form of self-expression and creativity, which often has deeply personal and meaningful motivation. We’re honoured to be able to explore the stories behind these tattoos in this incredible exhibition, which is sure to attract visitors interested in the tattoos themselves as well as those with a more personal connection to the armed forces.”

Ink in the Lines is on display until Sunday 4 June 2023. Newcastle Museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday through Sunday and seven days during the school holidays. Visit the Newcastle Museum website for more information.