..a few images/video stills from a visit to the ‘Ausia Ki Vusi women’s group in Ma’ufanga where I spent some time with ‘Oliva Vaka as she worked diligently to tohi (paint) ngatu. Like a lot of women in Tonga right now, ‘Olivia and her group don’t use kupesi (patterned stencils) during their koka’anga, opting instead to freehand the designs on top after the tapa is assembled. ‘Olivia is truly a skilled artist; she comes up with the design and the layout in her head, combining traditional kupesi patterns (she especially favors the tokelau feletoa and fata ‘o tui tonga) with original designs. She works with a speed and grace that speaks of her many years of experience & of her love for the art of making ngatu. Malie ‘Olivia!
..scenes from a koka’anga I visited in Niutoua, a village at the far northeast end of Tongatapu. I love that even the old piece of tapa that was used as a drop-cloth under the papakoka’anga looks like an artwork in and of itself. Malie kau fefine!
(photos by sally richardson)