What do the tattoos on this portrait painting mean according to Diane, the model?

The Power of Vulnerability, 24” x 18”, Oil on linen on board, 2019. For inquiries contact  Nadine Robbins

The Power of Vulnerability, 24” x 18”, Oil on linen on board, 2019. For inquiries contact Nadine Robbins

It all started with my travels to Hawaii. After visiting Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, on the Big Island, I really felt a deep connection with the earth. It felt like home. Not in an “I like to live in paradise kinda way’”  but a deeper connection. While sitting on this igneous rock looking at the tiny ferns sprouting, it really made me wonder about my roots, my ancestors, and my life lived until that very moment. Spending a week with 2 of my closest friends in a roundhouse surrounded with Hibiscus flowers and a view of the ocean in Pahoa got me inspired to translate this experience into a tattoo. 

As a native Dutch-Indonesian, I was looking for an artist that connects eastern & western art. After extensive research in black & grey tattoos, I found Yoni Zilber

To my understanding, Yoni Zilber is one of a few tattoo artists in the world who specializes in the Tibetan style and Black & Grey tattoos, but he also enjoys and excels in a range of artistic genres. Yoni increasingly focusses on translating the Tibetan style into symbols. In each piece, whether it is a traditional Tibetan image or an original composition brought through the Tibetan style, Yoni strives for beauty, flow, and simplicity while remaining sensitive to his client’s needs and respectful of the tradition upon which he is drawing. 

Sitting with Yoni was a contemplative experience, a meditation in the mind-body connection. My tattoos will act as a daily reminder of my roots, my travels and to find joy in every day given to me. 

My Right Arm

Hibiscus Flowers - represent courage, honor, and life. Flowing water represents the Pacific ocean and the constant flow of thought & emotions. 

Water Pearls -  which are believed to possess the power of bringing good fortune. (Yoni added them as a gift)

Nautical Star  - is an old sailor’s tattoo used as an image for protection and guidance through life. I got this when we migrated from the Netherlands to the US.

My Back

Represents my roots, my Chinese great grandmotherChinese Dragon - Chinese Dragon represents wisdom and goodwill.

Keris -  A Javanese dagger my great grandmother wore on her hip every day. (It’s the most traditional weapon of Indonesia and is the most essential heirloom for the Indonesian people)

My Left Arm

Balinese Barong Mask - represents the good spirit
Skulls - celebrating the dead & passed experiences
Balinese designs - represents creativity.

My right shoulder

Birds symbolizes my kids and being close to finding my way home.

The painting will be on display during the second leg of the traveling exhibition "Painting the figure now 2019" curated by Didi Menendez from Poets and Artists and Sergio Gomez at the Zhoub Arts Center in Chicago from Oct 18 to Nov 13, 2019

Exhibition Opening Date/Time: Oct 18, 7-10pm