Healing Ink aims to redefine Israel’s outlook on tattoos

Sasha Anand, Movie Analyst

Hillel, CSUSM’s Jewish student organization, held a film screening of the documentary Healing Ink at the USU on Sept. 14. In the United States, especially in this day and age, society has gradually become more accepting of the many ways that people express themselves. One of the more popular forms of self-expression is tattooing.


Getting a tattoo is usually seen as an edgy or daring thing to do. Some people who get tattooed do it to make a statement, to prove something about themselves to society or sometimes to stand out. However, in other countries tattooing is seen as a taboo. In Israel, tattoos aren’t common at all. They’re still something that the people there aren’t accustomed to.


This film sought to change that. It followed the journey of Artists 4 Israel, a group of tattoo artists from the United States who traveled to Israel to spread positivity through their art form.


Terrorist attack survivor, Kay Wilson, was stabbed while on a walk with her friend in Jerusalem and thought she wouldn’t survive. When she did indeed survive, she found a new respect and appreciation for life.


Artists 4 Israel helped victims, like Wilson, of terrorist attacks, bombings and other traumatic experiences cover up or, in some cases, accentuate their scars with a tattoo. The tattoos were representative of the trauma they experienced and lived through. One man was the victim of a bombing which injured him and left him with a scar covering most of his leg. The tattoo he chose made his scar look like the inner workings of a machine.


The tattoo artists and the work they did spread a valuable lesson about turning something previously thought of as taboo into a cherished memory.


The film’s message left a lasting impression on the audience as well. One of the viewers had a personal connection with the victim Wilson, and got choked up while sharing her experience meeting Wilson and listening to her story.


Healing Ink showed people of Israel the good that can come of tattooing and taught the rest of the world what generosity could do. If we all took the time to listen, we’d possibly become more understanding and be able to live in peace.