Upu Taofiofi, translated to "warning to keep it secret", is a reflection on the many secrets that villages hold within Samoa. Samoan tatau, or tattoos are sacred marks given by tufuga (masters of their craft). This rare view depicts a woman with a malofie, which is traditionally given only to the men of the village.
While I heard rumors of a female relative who had a malofie/pe‘a like a man, I never found out the full story. Why did she have this? Who gave it to her? Were there other women who had this as well? Was this before men were given these types of tatau?
I may never know, and that is ok, but her story has asked me to paint this, so here she is in all her glory.
My family told us many stories about our history as we were growing up in Sāmoa, but these stories were not all meant to be heard by everyone. There were secrets only known by certain villages of Sāmoa, and while answers to many of the questions in Polynesian history can be answered by these stories, it is tapu (forbidden) to share with those outside of the village family.
**Each giclee is printed and hand-stretched on 1.5" deep canvas.
- This beautiful canvas is printed on acid-free poly-cotton base
- Mounting brackets are included
- Open Edition