By Kat Harlton

This past Friday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the first Friday Night Live event for 2016 at The Royal Ontario Museum, sponsored by Peroni and partnered with NOW Magazine. Guests wandered through all exhibits while enjoying drinks and finger foods, with entertainment that included a dance floor run by DJ’s spinning classic hits ( DJ Brains4brkfst, Ben Stevenson, DJ Simon Jain, Brendan Philip, and Miss Fluffy Soufflé) and a live performance by The New Electric.

I was invited to check out an evening with Why We Ink, a community that is dedicated to those with memorial and survivor tattoos for cancer.  Held in the Schad Gallery, it featured stories of hope and love and opened my eyes to how the world of tattoo art has been helping cancer survivors heal physically and spiritually. It also featured a commemorative art installation in affiliation with the ROM’s current exhibit Tattoos: Ritual.Identity.Obsession.Art.

The ROM describes the exhibit as: “Coming from the musée du quai Branly in Paris, where the exhibition received rave reviews, Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art. explores the 5000-year-old multifaceted world of tattooing, showcasing a visual history of body art and markings, ancient tools, and commissioned tattooed silicone body reproductions, inked by some of the most respected tattoo artists in the contemporary world.”

The Tattoo exhibit allowed guests to explore the fascinating history and evolution of tattooing, with insights into ancient practices, histories, meanings and the revival of the global phenomenon of body art.

As someone with a tattoo, the exhibit pushed me to consider how tattoos affect our identity as individuals and their cultural impact on both our past and modern day society. For anyone interested in body modification and contemporary art, this exhibit is definitely worth your time.

I ended the night by catching a live performance by Calgary’s The New Electric. A mixture of pop and alternative, they captured the crowd with their hook-laden tracks and energetic performance.

I had a such a great time and truly enjoyed the space. Even with the sold-out capacity, there was an ease and flow that allowed for everyone to enjoy the night on their own terms and at their own pace. I commend The ROM for their innovative marketing and events and look forward to checking out more Friday Night Live events in the future. Special thanks to Strut Entertainment for the invite.