“Drape” a fabric exhibition at M.A.D.D. Gallery

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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Elei Print artists, Vaioleti Uili, Momoe Malietoa Von Reiche and Viragocha Papalii are exhibiting their work at MADD Gallery.

Elei Print artists, Vaioleti Uili, Momoe Malietoa Von Reiche and Viragocha Papalii are exhibiting their work at MADD Gallery. (Photo: Elizabeth Ah-Hi)

South-east Asia meets South Pacific at M.A.D.D. Gallery in Moto’otua for a five-day “Drape” Exhibition.

Artist, Momoe Malietoa von Reiche along with other fabric print artists Vaioleti Uili and Viragocha Papalii, have an array of elei print fabrics on display at the M.A.D.D. gallery. 

Samoan Elei may be the common denominator among the artists but each artist has different expressions of style from the elei to the type of material. Von Reiche has chosen to use Thai silk fabric, which is embellished with subtle prints of elei which she prefers.

“There are different styles of printing, mine are very soft so that the design is there but it’s not too much in your face,” she said. “You tend to look at the fabric because the fabric also gives the quality of your design and a little more value too.”

Thai silk has a unique luster to its texture and colour, which Von Reiche points out, is the main reason she likes to work with this type of fabric.

“I love it. It’s beautiful and very nice to work with. I like the quality because it makes it a little bit more up market so it appeals to a lot of older people. When I come up with the designs, I look at the material first and then I choose the board to suit the fabric, looking at things like the colour and the design, it’s not random; it informs the type of designs that I’m going to do.”

On the other side of the spectrum is textile print artist, Vaioleti Uili whose print style is bold and she prefers to work with linens and poplins. 

“Linen is a fabric that falls nicely and it lasts longer compared to the poplin. When it comes to my style of designs, I prefer repetitious designs combined with Samoan symbols and just lately I’ve been doing just simple work case designs.

“I started off making prints for my kids and I felt really satisfied making something out of your artwork and then seeing people wear it.”

Having designed and made her own elei prints for many years while living in Fiji and New Zealand, Vaioleti has never exhibited her work in public before until now.

“This is probably the first time I’ve exhibited and it’s nice to show it so people can appreciate the work and creativity that goes into making their fabrics. It can really make people look at fabric and design very differently,” she said. “I appreciate other people’s work and everyone’s got their own preferences with what they like. For example, Momoe loves the softer style of elei printing and she is very confident and uses a brush directly onto the board.”

The fabric exhibition opened yesterday at M.A.D.D, Gallery in Motootua and will be open until Monday 25th June. All prints are on sale.

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