Shattering stereotypes: Boi Skrang on mission to reshape perceptions on tattoos

Boi Skrang posing for a photo at DBNA outdoors on April 5, 2024

By Marlynda Meraw

KUCHING, April 5: In a bold move to challenge societal norms, Boi Skrang is determined to dismantle stereotypes and reshape perceptions surrounding tattooed individuals.

Given the prevailing perceptions among citizens regarding tattooed individuals, DayakDaily approached Boi Skrang, who is also the owner of Skrang Tattoo Studio, for an interview to dive deeper into his perspective on the matter.

“For Sarawakians, tattoos hold significant cultural value within the Dayak community, so there is more acceptance towards tattooed individuals here.

“But I hope to introduce tattoo culture to other parts of Malaysia or at least be accepted there,” he said.

Tattoos serve as an intimate form of storytelling, transforming one’s body into a story filled with intricate tales, as exemplified by Boi Skrang’s reference to the traditional tattoo motifs of the Iban people.

“In the old times, when a boy is past twelve years old, starting from thirteen years old, he will ‘merantau’ (leave home).

“The tattoos are usually earned throughout the ‘merantau’ period. They symbolise the experiences and the things the boy has gone through in his travels,” said Boi Skrang following the opening ceremony of the Kuching International Tattoo Expo 2024 at the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) today.

Beyond Boi Skrang’s insights, a 48-year-old Japanese tattoo artist by the name of Bunshinshi Horimyo also echoed parallel sentiments on the essence of tattoo culture.

According to Horimyo, tattoos are often regarded as taboo in Japan, mainly due to their association with the Japanese underworld, but he finds solace in the recent societal changes, albeit acknowledging their slow and gradual pace.

He joined the expo with the mission of sharing Japanese cultural influence on tattoos, aiming to extend its impact not only within the event itself but also to a global audience. — DayakDaily

Horimyo (left) and his client striking a pose at the outdoor DBNA Hall on April 5, 2024