Monday, December 1, 2014

Mr Telea's Pe'a

The extension crew have been learning about the history and the design of the samoan tatau for the past few weeks. Last week, Mr Tele’a was our model and inspiration. Our task was to ask him questions about his Tatau, to get more information and stories behind it. One of the questions were “ Would you mind if your sons had gotten the tatau? “  Mr Tele’a stated that he would surely be proud if his sons got a tatau, but he wouldn’t force them to get it.

While listening to the questions and answers that were being said, I captured the idea of the tatau. Mr Tele'a did not have the choice of choosing the design of the tatau. The artist chose to research Mr Tele'a's village and included a few motifs that were related to his research. Looking at the design of his tatau, I could see a lot of diamond chained patterns. I could also see a lot of lines included into it as well, which looked really great! But I knew that they weren't there just to ' look good' I knew it actually meant something. The belly button is known as the last part to get tattooed of the tatau, and is also known as Mr Tele'a's most memorable bit of his tattoo.

For the previous few weeks, I learnt that you could get your tatau or malu as the same time as someone as they are called your soa. I also learnt that a soa can be a sign of support and help as well. Mr Tele'a said that his soa's were his three brothers. So he must've been really glad with his brothers by his side. A tufuga is an artist who does your tatau. The tatau can only be done by two families which are Suluape and Su'a. Mr Tele'a's tattoo was done by a tufuga name Tuifa'asisina Su'a. Tuifa'asisina was also a tufuga for my uncle Semu and his fiance Julianna. But the two families are looking forward to teaching others how to do it.

During the progress of the tatau, there are two men who sit with the tufuga and stretch the skin to make the tufuga's job easier. Their job is also to wash the equipment after use. If not washed, there may be a chance of the next person to get infected. Overall I am really satisfied with I've learnt throughout out the few weeks. Getting to talk to a experienced tatau person, like Mr Tele'a has been a major bonus!

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