INDEPENDENCE ON THE SKIN

Erik Messori

Occupation, nationalism and struggles with identity plague world history. In Ireland in particular, hundreds of years of British rule – which some claim to be the world’s longest war of occupation – has produced generation after generation of independence-minded Irish who have fought for their national identity. Their names are linked to infamous organizations such as the IRA and other pro-independence organizations. Despite the fact that there is an official truce some of these women and men maintain the fight to achieve their dream of independence. Their tattoos tell the painstaking story of their lives, fallen friends and past actions. Their bodies bear indelible writings of an ideal and the human price of its pursuit. Every drop of ink under their skin carries the memory of ancestors and comrades who died in this invisible war. Much has been written about them, especially during the seemingly endless attacks of the seventies and eighties, and they are generally considered terrorists and subversives but little is really known about them. This photographic account is an insight into their world and proof of their determination to continue to fight for what they say will be an Ireland they can call their own.

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