Ayesha Sumbal's Bird Cage

Show us your ink! MARKED is our new series where we ask locals of all ages, professions and backgrounds to roll up their sleeves, pant legs, and so much more to reveal their marks. Here are their stories:

Name: Ayesha Sumbal

Age:  Currently 28, I was 25 and 27 when I had my tattoos done.

My Back Piece: I had them done at Living Canvas on Mill Avenue in Tempe. One is the crescent and the star from the Pakistani flag on my back.

It fades from a light green to a dark green to incorporate both the white and green in the actual flag. Below it is in my name, Ayesha, in Arabic.

Read more about Sumbal's mark after the jump ...

My Shoulder Piece: The other one is a bird flying out of a cage flying towards the word truth in Arabic. The cage symbolizes Islam and the persistent lie that my parents wanted me to live, despite attempting to be honest with them about my true belief system (Atheism, as it turns out). Of course the irony is that the tattoo is my version of the truth will set you free, a biblical reference. This is on my right shoulder blade, and the word truth (hakeekah in Arabic) is on the back of my neck.


My tattoos are a reminder of where I came from -- being Pakistani, I've struggled with the whole "being too white" thing since I was raised in America. And the bird cage, well, happiness is found in truth. Even if people aren't willing to accept it, you can be at peace with yourself about who you are.

Next Tattoo? I don't have any current plans for another tattoo, but I'm sure there will eventually be another one!

Know of any interesting marks? Send us your photos/submissions.


KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton