About & Vision of the

Traditional Tattoo Festival


The Traditional Tattoo Festival is a long-held vision and dream of Joël Tan, event organizer and manager of the GRACE Center at Kohala Institute and this vision came to him in a dream.

The driving question under all of it is: What are the patterns that connect us? At a time of deepening social and political divides, what better way to bring many different people together? A lot of times when there is a tough issue or controversial topic, if you put it in the realm of the artist and explore through creative expression, you open up the discussion and allow for more exploration.


The festival focuses on inclusivity. We hope to dissolve colonial divisions and reaffirm interrelatedness between Indigenous peoples. Given generations of oppression and cultural suppression across Indigenous cultures, we now have a significant need to preserve and share traditional and ancient knowledge.

This is history. We now live during a time when Hawaiian people and those of Indigenous cultures will experience a renaissance of culture and life, the emergence of even greater spirit.


The time has arrived for every person to flow within the currents of wisdom and spirit.

We are excited to bring Hawaii's first Traditional Tattoo Festival to Kohala to create awareness as we continue to link the patterns that connect us.