The painful tattoos that are driven into the skin of the Mentawai are considered to be the proud marks of a complete man.
Photographer Chris Rainier has spent the last two decades documenting tattoo culture. His journeys have taken him through jungles, cities, deserts, and into the territory of New Guinea hill tribes and L.A. street gangs. What he's found is that tattoos are engrained in the consciousness of humans as a way of expressing identity. Join him as he visits the Indonesian island of the Mentawai people, where the ancient ritual of tattooing is rapidly disappearing. Rainier hurries to document this culture before its traditional ways change forever.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.