Attitudes towards tattoos in Azerbaijan: the art hidden from parents


Attitudes towards tattoos in Azerbaijan

The attitude towards tattooing in Azerbaijani society is antipodal among its various representatives: for some it is a stain on honor, for others it is art. Young people treat it with interest, but the adult generation, for the most part, with condemnation. This is the reason why there are even some who hide their tattoos from their own parents, while living under the same roof.

Without models or propaganda

The JAMnews respondent, tattoo artist Kamal Abdullah, has been doing this for six years. He says he is interested in all kinds of art:

“I was advised to come to this sector. When I was still studying the basics, I realized that was my thing. Both from the point of view of process regulation and customer contact.

Kamal Abdullah tattoo artist

I studied this profession for a year and a half. But these days, many start working very early. Anyone who has the necessary equipment considers themselves a tattoo artist.

Kamal believes the reason for his popularity in Azerbaijan was also the fact that only six years ago few people here were doing it.

Kamal also stands out from others in that he avoids patterns, propaganda and repetition.

“There are symbolic works. For example, the infinity sign. It cannot be avoided. But no one can get from me an exact repetition of what another master has done. I make some changes, change the design,” he notes.

“A stain of honor for women, a physical stain for men”

Kamal Abdullah says some of the most common tattoo stereotypes in Azerbaijan include an “honor stain” for women and a “physical stain” for men.

He adds that as a tattoo artist, he’s already had enough of these subjects:

“Power and the concept of the state are very strong in Azerbaijan. It will not be a problem for the state to normalize any concept in society. If tattooing were treated as an art form, if it came to the fore as a form of culture, negative thoughts would disappear on their own. People are suspicious of all innovations, they condemn them. Those to be condemned are those who dare not do so. If you treat tattoos as an art form, any condemnation will be nullified.

According to Kamal, the main reason for the negative attitude towards tattoos in Azerbaijan is the association with “getting a tattoo”, the world of thieves and life in prison: “For decades people have considered it as a stigma. It has a very strong impact. »

“We are considered drug addicts or vagabonds”

Another respondent, tattoo artist Farid Pashayev, claims that the older generation views those with tattoos as drug addicts or vagabonds:

“I’ve been in this business for four years. A section of society seriously condemns both tattoo artists and those who use their services. We must look for the reasons for this in the Soviet era. This is how the mindset was formed. Hopefully the next generation. »

Farid Pashayev at work

A positive feature of mastering the art of tattooing is that one can work and earn money in any country if one has the right equipment at hand, Pashayev said. But there are also negative sides. This concerns first of all the personal life of the master.

“It’s not a man’s job”

“My family and relatives thought it was not a job for a man. While I was studying tattoo art, I said at home that I was studying design. For two months, I hid my tattoo from my family. But I think a tattoo artist should have a tattoo on their body.

Many customers are afraid that it will be harmful or lead to illness. But when they see a tattoo on the master himself, they calm down. I think it’s an important detail,” says Farid.

“I only go to the countryside during the cold months”

There are a number of young people in Azerbaijan, especially girls, who hide their tattoos from family members. This “cat and mouse” game can go on for months or even years. FI says she has had a tattoo of her favorite cartoon character on her arm for two years now.

“I live in Baku far from my family. My parents are in the countryside. The tattoo is prominent. The reason I hide the body design from them is that they are very negative about it. Not because it’s harmful to the body, but because it’s a province, tattoos go against their mentality, for girls and guys alike.

I only visit my parents during the colder months, so I can wear a long-sleeved shirt. I hide it this way. I don’t want to be rushed. And the truth is that I did it of my own free will, without even thinking about it. But sometimes I think I should have done it in a more covered place.

Another tattoo enthusiast PM says she now has a total of four tattoos on her body. She manages to hide them all from her parents, even though they live in the same apartment:

“I’ve been hiding my tattoos from my family members for a year now. It’s difficult, but possible. In hot weather, I use foundation creams or just patches.

I don’t think I will stop at these tattoos. I’m sure if they find out, it will become a tragedy, but in my opinion, people should treat these things normally, without emotions.

Attitudes towards tattoos in Azerbaijan


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