National School Tunisia Tattoo, the only tattoo school of its kind in North Africa, is teaching contemporary tattooing in a country where the tradition has been practiced for centuries by indigenous Berbers or Amazigh peoples.
The Tunis-based tattoo academy was founded by former engineer Fawez Zahmoul who began to learn tattooing in 2006 as a way to earn extra cash whilst living in Morocco. Over a six month period, students learn all aspects of the craft before graduating with a certificate which allows them to work professionally.
Tattooing is an ancient tradition practiced by indigenous peoples around the world. Historically Amazigh or Berber women – indigenous to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Libya and parts of Niger and Mali- have been tattooing their faces and other body parts for symbolic purposes including fertility, to cure illnesses and to protect against evil and negative forces. Each tattoo tells the stories of their tribe, the land the women inhabit, and familial ties.
The markings, tattooed on Amazigh girls beginning at a young age, acted as a rite of passage. After an Amazigh girl was tattooed, she became a woman with the potential of motherhood.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com