A tattoo that reads ‘I love you’ could become a way to express a connection to a loved one.
Tongue-in-cheek tattoos are not uncommon among young people in Nigeria.
They are popular among teenagers for their simple but effective way of expressing affection, and can also be used as a way of communicating with family members.
Nigeria’s tattoo laws stipulate that a tattoo cannot be bigger than 20cm (7in) in width.
But young people are finding new ways to get their tattoos, including drawing large lines in ink and painting them with coloured paint.
But what about the tattoo artist?
It’s a tough one.
In Nigeria, it’s legal to tattoo the head of a deceased person, but there is a high level of cultural and religious taboos.
It is also illegal to tattoo someone’s eyes, and for those who have a tattoo on their body, it is also forbidden to remove the tattoo.
In a country where homosexuality is criminalised, it can be hard for some young people to come to terms with their sexuality, and to express their feelings.
Tongues-in the-cheeks can be a way for young people who are unsure about their sexuality to connect with family and friends, according to Alena S.K.B., a social psychologist and founder of the Tattoo Institute.
The problem is, if you can’t have a conversation with your loved ones about it, then it’s really difficult to be open with your partner,” she said.”
It’s difficult to say you love someone and then you start putting up lines.
“There is no way of telling someone you are in love and then they are going to take it to the next level, which is really difficult.”
If you start doing it like this, then you are just taking it to another level, because there’s a certain amount of trust.
“I would encourage people to think about their own personal experiences and be honest with them.”
What is a tongue-in a-cheeka?
The tattoos are the result of intense feelings, says Dr Alena K.B. “They are all about expressing love,” she says.
“This is an expression of love.
And sometimes the tongue can be inserted into a cheekbone, so that it looks like a mouth.”
Tongued-in means someone is in an angry or defensive mood, but it can also mean expressing love for a loved person.
It can also come from the heart, or an emotion that is deep.
“For example, when you are upset with your parents, or in a relationship, you can draw a line with your tongue.
You can make a gesture with your lips.
And you can do this with your eyes.”
What are the complications?
There are serious consequences to tongue- in a-kesa, Dr Alenas said.
She points out that tattoos that are not accompanied by an eye patch are still illegal.
What about those who choose to get tattooed without a mask?
“I think it’s a good idea to be aware of these issues, because you might find yourself in a position where you can be discriminated against, and in some countries you can lose your job,” she advises.
If you’re unsure about what kind of tattoo to get, ask a friend or relative for advice.
“Just think about the context and how you are going about expressing your feelings.”
Tattoo artist and psychologist Dr Alene K. B. said: “The tattoos that people are going for now are all very simple expressions of love, so there is nothing particularly special about them.”
The tattoo artist can use them to express the love and the feelings of someone they have a relationship with.
And this is really important for young girls.”
Read more about tattooing in Nigeria