Tatau

Past Exhibition

Tatau

Exhibitions such as Tatau: Marks of Polynesia are made possible by the generous support of members and donors of the Japanese American National Museum.

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Acknowledgements

Head of State of Samoa, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi
Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Lupsoliani Neioti Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi
Le Manumea Hotel
Luna & Tualagi Paul
The Savai‘ian Hotel
Fa‘apoipoi & Nola Gidlow
Samoa Tourism Authority
Dwayne Bentley
John Aila‘ula‘u Lemoa
Poinsettia Taefu
Mene Ropati
Tui Ulaula
Tatau Brand
Toloai Letuli
Strong Shirt Printing
Roman Enriquez

 

Indiegogo Campaign Donors

Thank you to all of our supporters who helped us exceed our goal for the Tatau crowdfunding campaign. Below is a list of donors who contributed $25 or more to the campaign.

Patron Sponsor (Tatau)
Su‘a Sulu‘ape Freewind

Associate Sponsor (Malu)
ROXX 2Spirit Tattoo

Fale
Anonymous

To‘oto‘o
Anonymous
Ohana Organics
Tom & Carol Yuki

Tanoa
Anonymous
Dobashi Properties
Enriquez Family
Linda G. Martinez
Ronda Leilani Wun

Measina
Conrad Lackten
Valerie Noda
Tia Stark
Steffany–Fiame Family
Gordon Yamate

Aiga
Kari Barton
Kataleya Berni
Erica Danielle Franz, Painted Seahorse Studio
Dr. Sam ‘Ohukani‘ōhi‘a Gon III
Michael Holzer
Beau logo
Junko Shimada Diamond Club Tattoo
Marisa Kakoulas, Needlesandsins.com
Chad Koeplinger
Mr. Brandon Chase Lantrip & Family
Moana Looney
David Loudermilk
Gwen K. Noda
Charles Reed
Ohana Resnick
Devonna Sosefina Savelio
Faivale Faa‘a Seuga from Fitiuta, Samoa
Angela Taylor
The Hirai Tsuchitani Family
Wil (Ohana Tattoo)
Cory Yip

Pasefika
Ian Carder
Kalilikane Ohana
The Reed Ohana
Elaine K. Pahio
Tiala Tagaloa
Rasmus Heje Thomsen, MD

Talofa
Veronica Achica-Mataafa
Peter Chisom Jr.
The Cotis Family
Rick Davila
Leslie Brown Eguchi
Noel Elpedes
Jeremy Hanna of Sullen Clothing
Barbara Horiuchi
Laura Lackten
Simanu Tu‘ugaolo Logotaeao
Mālama Nadeau
Cynthia Mari Orozco
Jack Roche
selay69692004
Spencer Toledo

July 30, 2016 - January 22, 2017

Japanese American National Museum

100 N. Central Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tatau: Marks of Polynesia explores the beauty of Samoan tattoos as well as the key role they play in the preservation and propagation of Samoan culture. Through photographs taken in the studio and on location in Samoa and elsewhere, Tataushowcases the work of traditional Samoan tattoo masters alongside that of younger practitioners working within and influenced by the tradition today. Through exhibitions like Tatau, JANM continues its work of promoting understanding of diverse cultures.

Samoa’s tatau, along with Japan’s irezumi, is one of the world’s most distinctive living tattoo traditions. An indigenous art form with a continuous history that dates back 2,000 years, tatau has played a pivotal role in the preservation and propagation of Samoan culture, surviving many attempts at eradication. In Samoa, tufuga tā tatau (master tattoo artists) are accorded high status in society, and acquiring tatau is considered a powerful affirmation of national identity, particularly for young men, for whom it is an important rite of passage. Tatau motifs and symbols are also being adapted by younger artists for new media and art forms. Both the traditional tattoo and its more contemporary manifestations have helped to create and affirm identity for new generations of Polynesians and others living outside of Samoa. 

Among the artists featured in Tatau are Su‘a Sulu‘ape Alaiva‘a Petelo, Su‘a Sulu‘ape Peter, Su‘a Sulu‘ape Paul Jr., Su‘a Sulu‘ape Aisea Toetu‘u, Sulu‘ape Steve Looney, Tuigamala Andy Tauafiafi, Mike Fatutoa, and Sulu‘ape Si‘i Liufau. An important focus of the exhibition is the influential Sulu‘ape family and their disciples; the legendary Petelo Sulu‘ape and his deceased brother Paulo are credited with spurring the resurgence of Samoan tattoos worldwide. Additional photographs taken in New Zealand, Hawai‘i, California, and Nevada demonstrate the spread of the art form outside of Samoa and some of its newer interpretations.

Tatau is curated by Takahiro “Ryudaibori” Kitamura, the master tattoo artist and author who previously curated the exhibition Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World, which originated at JANM in 2014 and is currently traveling. Kitamura is collaborating with John Agcaoili, photographer; Sulu‘ape Steve Looney and Danielle Steffany-Looney of Pacific Soul Tattoo in Hawai‘i; Sean Mallon, author and Senior Curator of Pacific Cultures at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; and Sulu‘ape Si‘i Liufau of A-Town Tattoo. Tatau is accompanied by a full-color catalog.

Tatau: Marks of Polynesia was on display at the Japanese American National Museum July 30, 2016–January 22, 2017. Below are sponsors of JANM’s presentation of the exhibition.

Major Sponsor:  General Graphics

Patron Sponsor: Su‘a Sulu‘ape Freewind

Associate Sponsor: ROXX 2Spirit Tattoo

Media Sponsor: The Rafu Shimpo 

 

Now Traveling!

Check the Venues page to see where the exhibition is traveling.

 

Interested in booking this exhibition?  LEARN MORE

July 30, 2016 - January 22, 2017

Japanese American National Museum

100 N. Central Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tatau: Marks of Polynesia explores the beauty of Samoan tattoos as well as the key role they play in the preservation and propagation of Samoan culture. Through photographs taken in the studio and on location in Samoa and elsewhere, Tataushowcases the work of traditional Samoan tattoo masters alongside that of younger practitioners working within and influenced by the tradition today. Through exhibitions like Tatau, JANM continues its work of promoting understanding of diverse cultures.

Samoa’s tatau, along with Japan’s irezumi, is one of the world’s most distinctive living tattoo traditions. An indigenous art form with a continuous history that dates back 2,000 years, tatau has played a pivotal role in the preservation and propagation of Samoan culture, surviving many attempts at eradication. In Samoa, tufuga tā tatau (master tattoo artists) are accorded high status in society, and acquiring tatau is considered a powerful affirmation of national identity, particularly for young men, for whom it is an important rite of passage. Tatau motifs and symbols are also being adapted by younger artists for new media and art forms. Both the traditional tattoo and its more contemporary manifestations have helped to create and affirm identity for new generations of Polynesians and others living outside of Samoa. 

Among the artists featured in Tatau are Su‘a Sulu‘ape Alaiva‘a Petelo, Su‘a Sulu‘ape Peter, Su‘a Sulu‘ape Paul Jr., Su‘a Sulu‘ape Aisea Toetu‘u, Sulu‘ape Steve Looney, Tuigamala Andy Tauafiafi, Mike Fatutoa, and Sulu‘ape Si‘i Liufau. An important focus of the exhibition is the influential Sulu‘ape family and their disciples; the legendary Petelo Sulu‘ape and his deceased brother Paulo are credited with spurring the resurgence of Samoan tattoos worldwide. Additional photographs taken in New Zealand, Hawai‘i, California, and Nevada demonstrate the spread of the art form outside of Samoa and some of its newer interpretations.

Tatau is curated by Takahiro “Ryudaibori” Kitamura, the master tattoo artist and author who previously curated the exhibition Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World, which originated at JANM in 2014 and is currently traveling. Kitamura is collaborating with John Agcaoili, photographer; Sulu‘ape Steve Looney and Danielle Steffany-Looney of Pacific Soul Tattoo in Hawai‘i; Sean Mallon, author and Senior Curator of Pacific Cultures at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; and Sulu‘ape Si‘i Liufau of A-Town Tattoo. Tatau is accompanied by a full-color catalog.

Tatau: Marks of Polynesia was on display at the Japanese American National Museum July 30, 2016–January 22, 2017. Below are sponsors of JANM’s presentation of the exhibition.

Major Sponsor:  General Graphics

Patron Sponsor: Su‘a Sulu‘ape Freewind

Associate Sponsor: ROXX 2Spirit Tattoo

Media Sponsor: The Rafu Shimpo 

 

Now Traveling!

Check the Venues page to see where the exhibition is traveling.

 

Interested in booking this exhibition?  LEARN MORE

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