Jacqueline


Jacqueline's tattoos are a colourful celebration of her Caribbean heritage and sense of womanhood. She made a trip down to London from Hemel Hempstead, where she's been living for 40 years, to talk to me about the artwork on her skin.



Can you describe yourself at the time when you got your first tattoo?

When I got my first tattoo, which was a scorpion on my back, I was in my second year studying English at university. I was a young single mother at the age of 25 and wanted excitement in my life and adventure.

What role do tattoos play in your life?

Tattoos play a big role in my life. I'm thankful for having them and will never get bored of the artistic work on my body. Through tattoos I discovered my creative skill as an artist, then later as a model and background actress.

Some of my tattoos are very significant to who I am as a Rasta woman. The rasta man and rasta woman joined by their locks on my upper right arm shows the importance of love, peace and unity between man and woman. The Lion of Judah, which looks like a flower, is a good talking point. You have to look at it carefully to see that it's a lion. I have an artistic piece on my left upper arm by Sandra Knuyt from her series Les Amours de la Belle Epoque, which is inspired by one of France's most creative and inventive eras. I have an African woman on my right shoulder, which illustrates the strength of my origins and me as a black woman and independent female.



Can you tell me what some of your tattoos symbolise?

The African woman on my right shoulder is one of strength as a female, black woman and mother.
Catwoman represents the cheeky and sexy side of me. The rose on my foot symbolises a loss of a loved one. The Ginger flower and African Violets represent my African and Caribbean roots. A slight twist with the African violets as this is my mother's name.

Have you ever had strangers react strongly to your tattoos?


When I got the Sandra Knuyt tattoo done, I was walking around Camden and a woman requested to look at it. As she looked at it she cried. It’s a very detailed tattoo of a woman, of beauty, but also reflects sadness - something that all women can relate to.




Is there a connection between your tattoos and the Rastafari way of life?

I have two tattoos that I got at the beginning of my Rasta journey. The Lion of Judah on my right lower arm and the Rasta man and Rasta woman on my upper arm. My tattoos are also an expression of rebellion against the norm, authority, society and the system. Rastas from upon marking your skin, so I guess I rebelled against this too, and maybe vanity got the better of me.

How do you feel about the ageing process of tattoos? Is it something you've noticed?


I don't worry about it and won't worry about it as I get older, because the tattoos are a part of me. No doubt I'll get tattooed in my 60s and 70s and will still show them off because it's just who I am.





"When I was being tattooed it was as though the needle was uncovering these images on my arm, rather than adding them."
- Gabriella Apicella



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