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Exhibition triggers memories of forgotten art form

13 March 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Ruci Farrell -

Resurrecting a treasured art form at dire risk of being lost brought tears of joy for Tongans attending the launch of the Falevai Flava exhibition in Auckland at the weekend. 

Heritage artist Sulieti Fieme'a Burrows says people in Falevai lost interest in making ngatu (tapa) because it was hard work and there were no more mulberry trees.

Tui Emma Gillies at the launch of Falevai Flava. Photo/ Facebook.

Manukau East MP Jenny Salesa, who launched the exhibition at the Mangere Arts Centre, says events like this help safeguard traditional Pacific art forms. 

"You see how beautiful it is. They've actually brought the village of Falevai together to revive this form of art of ngatu-making," she says.

"Brings memories for me, seeing my own grandmother make things like this and she got this art form from her mother."

Sulieti Fieme'a Burrows and her daughter Tui Emma Gillies. Photo/ Facebook.