Revitalizing Tapa: How Art Strengthens Ancient Connections of the Pacific


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When: Oct 23 2019 - 12:00pm until Oct 23 2019 - 1:00pm
Where: John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Road, Room 3121 (3rd Floor)

How can we best save traditional art forms while incorporating contemporary mediums? This presentation will include a discussion on reinvigorated efforts around the Pacific to promote the continuation of tapa and other art forms as a means to underscore historic connections among Polynesians. The sharing of Tongan tapa through workshops and exhibits represent efforts to trade ideas, experiences, and knowledge with local tapa artists from Hawaii to help inspire future projects.

Sulieti and Tui are a Tongan New Zealand mother and daughter who collaborate on tapa cloth and other traditional art projects. They have presented, exhibited and held workshops around the world and sold their work both privately and to museums. In 2018, they were the recipients of the Creative New Zealand Heritage Arts Award and have had two documentaries made about their work and special relationship. Their main project together was Falevai Flava, in which they returned to Sulieti’s home village of Falevai in Vava’u, Tonga, and made two big ngatu with the women there. Tapa art hadn’t been practiced in the village for decades and the mulberry trees from which tapa cloth is made no longer grew there. However, a resurgent interest and practice of this art form has brought about new crops of mulberry trees for generations of tapa artists to come.

Open to the public

Limited seating

Please RSVP by Tuesday, October 22: 944-7111 or

Paid parking is available on the UHM campus.

Primary Contact Info:
Phone: 944-7111