Fala-masi makes a comeback

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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FALA-MASI DISPLAY: An array of the colourful, specialty mats from the village of Faleapuna.

FALA-MASI DISPLAY: An array of the colourful, specialty mats from the village of Faleapuna.

Traditional Samoan arts and crafts is oneof the unique aspects of the country’s culture. 

 However, some of these traditions have been slowly fading away, which is why the Faleapuna’s Women’s Committee initiated the revival of the fala-masi.

Falamasi is a unique type of mat which is particularly made by the women of Faleapuna. 

The revival is driven by their inspiration to ‘Uphold our culture, heritage and traditions.”

In an interview with the President of the Women’s Committee, Mulipola Anarosa Molio’o, she said that the fala-masi was what made Faleapuna known back in days past. 

“This was because Faleapuna is the only village who know how to make this type of mat.” 

Mulipola articulated that making fala-masi was a leisure pursuit their foremothers used to do when they were still alive. 

“Many of our present generation, witnessed how passionate they were with making the mats and how fast they could do it.”

The skills were then passed on down from generation to generation through.

However, the women of Faleapuna stopped making fala-masi when the government enforced the making of the traditional Samoan Fine mat [ie sae], said Mulipola.

“But it is time to bring back this type of cultural practice which belongs to our village.

“Our mothers and grandmothers worked so hard to maintain and uphold this tradition and we don’t want to let it die out. That is why we are reviving the making of Falamasi so that we can also teach our daughters and children about such skills and also it can be a great way for our Women’s Committee to earn money.”

The Faleapuna’s Women’s Committee is in charge of taking care of the primary school and they are now fundraising for their next project which is the erection of their new school building. 

The fala-masi is a type of mat which looks like the Chinese mat [fala Saina] with traditional Samoan patterns.

“The different women in the Women’s Committee come up with their own designs and they are very creative. Therefore we want to encourage our women, young and old to continue on with this kind of work.

“This is our gift from God and we want to uphold it and maintain it.”

Mulipola said that the main difficulty in making fala-masi is finding the ink for the designs.

However, Mulipola said that compared to other traditional fine mats, the fala-masi is very easy to make. 

“With the experience and skills we can do it in one day and then we have to dry it out in the sun before using it.

“I think the Falamasi is more appropriate to use in Samoa than the fala-saina when we have guests. And the fala-masi is a better quality.” 

 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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