Two days away from Mother's Day, the women of Samoa showcased their best fine mats in front of the government building yesterday.
The occasion was the Annual Exhibition of Ie Samoa (fine mats) and siapo, to commemorate Mother’s Day. The annual event promotes women’s crucial role as producers of such important arts and crafts of Samoa.
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, congratulated all the mothers when he addressed the audience.
“I have seen a lot of improvements in the growing number of fine mats being displayed from each village,” said Tuilaepa.
Representatives from 97 weaving groups (falelalaga) showcased their work, featuring close to 400 fine mats.
Participating mothers thanked the government for the great initiative, especially efforts to revive the ie Samoa.
Leaafa Afoa Vaai, of Fogasavai’i, said seeing the work of other mothers motivated her to continue.
“It’s a great feeling to know that your work is appreciated and loved by others,” she said.
“Exhibitions such as this make it all worth it. Today, our hard work paid off. Although it was hard work but with the acknowledgement from the leader of Samoa and the Ministry, we are encouraged to continue.”
The overall winner for Upolu was the A’ufaga Women’s Committee while Fogasavai'i were victorious in the Savai’i category.
According to the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, the revival of the production of the Ie Samoa and Siapo is not only to invigorate the cultural significance of these arts and crafts but also to promote women’s crafting as a source of income to contribute to the economic development of Samoa.
“The sustainability of the art of fine mat weaving and siapo making is being promoted through the work of the Ie Samoa Committee which is chaired by the Prime Minister and comprised of representatives of government, private sector, Women in Business Development Incorporated and civil society,” the Ministry says.
“The implementation of this programme is spearheaded by women’s committees, which encompasses young women as well as women with disabilities.
“The role of men as weavers and supporters in the promotion of the ie sae and siapo production is crucial in the sustainability of this important program. This initiative by the government is to stimulate the cultural significance of using Ie Sae for traditional obligations.
“This is evident in usage of these priceless Measina as traditional gifts for very important people during Independence celebrations, funerals and family obligations.
“In addition, the Ie Samoa and Siapo is a source of income for women who have traded these crafts as either gift exchange or for money both with Samoans locally and overseas. The sustainability of this program will not only promote their cultural significance but also as a means to support economic development for women and their communities.”