The 1st Sabah International Tattoo And Culture Convention held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah saw a gathering of hundreds of body art enthusiasts and artists from all over the world.

Organised by Koiyak Gloves, the three-day event showcased amazing works by professional artists who are passionate about the art form. “I have been doing this for 16 years now. I love it because it gives me the chance to help people express their thoughts and feelings through tattoos,” said artist Jimmy Toge, who owns Radjah Skin Design studio in Surabaya, Indonesia.

The convention featured more than 50 professional tattoo artists including international guests Norm Will Rise of Will Rise Tattoo (Los Angeles, California), Christian Nguyen of Inkvaders Tattoo (Switzerland), Emil Supertramp  (Latvia), Guy le Tatooer (France), Jun Chihara (Japan), Ruud van der Male of Yak Tattoo (Holland) and the award-winning Apple Qu of Memory Lane (Singapore), the only female artist at the convention. Among the local artists were Shane Leong of Shane Tattoo Studio (Terengganu), Taco Joe of Lost At Sea Tattoo Studio (Sabah), BoeL’s Tattooist of BoeL’s Box Collection & Tattoo Studio (Sabah) and Aaron Munkee of Orangutan Studio (Sabah).

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Thai artist Ajahn Man working on LA-based tattooist Norm Will Rise at the convention.

The event also saw well-known artist Ernesto Kalum of Borneoheadhunter Tattoo & Piercing Studio (Sarawak), performing the traditional Iban method of tattooing – using old school hand tools – on some daring patrons. At the booth next to Borneoheadhunter was Ajahn Man of Triangle Ink Tattoo Studio (Thailand), who specialises in the “Sakyant traditional Thai protection tattoos”. His method of using… a really long needle drew numerous curious onlookers as well as customers.

Apart from tattoos, the convention also held competitions for the participating artists and patrons, and well as traditional dance shows by the Monsopiad Cultural Village performers.

“Supported by Sabah Tourism Board, this convention’s secondary purpose is to support tourism in Sabah,” said Carlos Benny, founder of Koiyak Gloves, in a statement. The convention was officiated by Minister of Tourism, Culture & Environment (Sabah) Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.

A tattoo enthusiast getting work done on both his thighs - at the same time - by artists from Indonesia.

A tattoo enthusiast getting work done on both his thighs – at the same time – by artists from Indonesia.

Ruud van der Male from Holland working on a client, who's getting her very first tattoo.

Ruud van der Male from Holland working on a client, who’s getting her very first tattoo.

Jun Chihara from Fukuoka, Japan, prepared several original designs especially for the convention.

Jun Chihara from Fukuoka, Japan, prepared several original designs especially for the convention.