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Tanya Masaniai Ibarra Art

Nafanua Queen Warrior Rise - ORIGINAL

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Framed 48" x 57.5" original acrylic painting of the Samoan warrior queen, Nafanua, resting after battle at the Afu Aau waterfall. Holding her trusted weapon, she has shed her famous war garment, and is healing in the still waters of the falls.

It is said that she was born of a blood clot buried in the earth, and she was raised in Pulotu (a form of Heaven), until her time to rise up on earth came. She was one of the most powerful women in Samoa, both in ali‘i titles, since she held four, as well as her prowess in battle. Called upon to rise up to rescue her people from oppression, she wielded her mighty Ta Fesilafa‘i, her battle weapon, which translates to “strike with courtesy”, also her philosophy in battle.

During the battle, she paused and her war shirt was blown open by the wind and all of her enemies realized to their dismay that this mighty warrior was in fact a woman. They were so shocked and humiliated, they ended the battle and retreated.

This painting depicts Nafanua cleansing in Afu Aau falls south of Savai‘i after her victory in battle.

Although her enemies retreated, and the battle was successful, Nafanua was heartbroken that she had to harm her own people in order free her family. Her cleansing was not only physical, but also a spiritual cleansing for her soul.

Considered a mythological figure by historians, Polynesians are well-aware that there are truly no myths in our history, only stories about real people which through translation and legend, seem as if they could only exist as myths.

Nafanua was a real person, a queen warrior revered even to this day for answering the call and rising up to rescue her people. To my queen warriors, RISE UP, the time is here.