Queen of Hearts Tattoo studio

There’s a queen on the first floor
of the market

Until recently, the best memory you could come away from the market with was of a good meal. Now we’ve raised the bar and it’s possible to take away a memento on your skin. For centuries mariners and explorers, the Portuguese have long had contact with the culture of tattoos – as attested by the records of the collection of the Lisbon forensic science institute, which recently went on show at the city’s Museum of Design and Fashion (MUDE), contributing to its dissemination around the whole world. Bohemians, sailors and fado singers as well as some ladies of the night were fans of the practice, which they flaunted as a way of rebelling against the system. It was in markets that contact between travellers and locals was most frequent, along with the discovery and acceptance of cultural differences – not only in terms of foodstuffs and cuisine, but also artistic. And it’s now at the Mercado da Ribeira (on the first floor) that Queen of Hearts, an artists’ collective, has just set up a temporary tattoo studio  to welcome locals and also the countless travellers who pass through here and who might want to take home a souvenir of the city on their skin. At the first Queen of Hearts outlet, in the Bairro Alto, which opened in 2002, Catarina Albuquerque and Américo Martins are used to getting requests for the strangest designs.  Many come from tourists who ask for tattoos that have to do with Lisbon, as a city that has left them with good memories. Yes, there are people who ask for a tattoo of a sardine, a pastel de nata or even the no. 28 tram. But where Lisbon is concerned, that isn’t all there is to it, even when we’re talking about tattoos.  In the new Queen of Hearts, Lisbon is front and centre, but the team of artists are ready to design whatever the client wants. From August to October, some of the artists normally resident in the Bairro Alto premises are working out of the first floor of the Mercado da Ribeira, including Nicole Lourinho, Igor Gama, Inês Almeida, Simão Lopes but also many special guest tattooists. Just check the agenda on the Queen of Hearts Facebook page. Queen of Hearts Tattoos – Time Out Market is on the market’s first floor until the end of October. Reservations: queenofheartstattoos.tom@gmail.com or on 93 584 6365.