Originally launched in 2012 by Dutch artist Sander van Bussel, Human Rights Tattoo comes to Contact this September in the project’s first-ever UK outing.

Described a ‘living, social practice artwork’, the project travels worldwide tattooing the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights onto the skins of 6773 people one letter at a time.

30 people aged between 18-30 are invited to apply to participate in the project. Those selected will receive one 1CM2 tattooed letter.

Manchester’s Contact is managing and hosting the event with Human Rights Tattoo, and an experienced local tattoo artist will apply the letters over the course of one day. 

Sander van Bussel, who will be present on the day to speak to participants and document their tattoos, says “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written by the United Nations in 1948, wishing to protect humanity from the nightmares of WWII. Now, well over 70 years later, little seems to be left of that hope and the global divide is still growing.

“Our mission is to use the power of the idea, the imagination and individual decisiveness as a weapon against division and indifference. In today’s world where polarization on all levels is on the rise, emphasizing these fundamental human rights is particularly relevant. Everybody gets one letter. Everybody has their own unique story.”

Applications open on Mon 7 Aug. Applicants are asked to express what the human rights movement means to them and why they want the tattoo. The participants will be selected anonymously by Contact staff and associated young people. All tattoos will given be on a ‘pay what you decide’ donation basis.

The deadline for applications is Mon 21 Aug and the tattoo event is on Sat 9 Sept. You can find more information here.

Photo by Sander van Bussel/ Human Rights TattooImage by Sander van Bussel/ Human Rights Tattoo

Sat 9 Sep, Contact,
Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6JA
Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Mon 7 Aug 2023