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Inked by: Unknown
Tehran, Iran

This work, love, is an exception. It wasn’t drawn as a tattoo, it’s not the expression of someone’s story. Rather than that, it was work I drew on paper, back in 2017, for an exhibition in Paris and was later exhibited in Stockholm as well as Taiwan. 

The work is a reflection on love as an “opening pain”. The kind of pain that opens us to the world, to the other, to experiences beyond the intuitively safe. 

It was never intended for tattooing, and so I was surprised when I received a photo of this tattoo from an anonymous email address. The author of the email wrote the following: “I live in Tehran. Here, tattooing is forbidden. But when I saw your work, I was so deeply touched by it that I knew I needed it on my skin. So I started looking for a tattooist. But how do you look for someone who is not allowed to exist? Well, it turned out that there is a vibrant and alive tattooing scene in my city. Everything happens behind closed doors and tattooists often spend more time in prison than outside. But even here, art on skin blooms.”

So here is to the anonymous art lover and the anonymous tattooist. And here is to all those who are willing to go beyond the immediately available or accepted in order to stay true to themselves. 

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