University celebration engages community

Three different community workshops were part of the opening of the University of the South Pacific (U.S.P.), Alafua Campus 50th anniversary celebration yesterday. 

Floral crown making, elei printing and tapa printing workshops were organized for the community to come together and engage in activities.

Local business owner in tapa printings, Faapito Mataafa Lemuelu spoke about the significance of traditional handicrafts in the Samoan culture.

“I believe that our people should be made aware of our culture slipping from our hands, in reference to knowledge or skills making traditional handicrafts. 

I am continuing on that legacy, passed on throughout each generation which I learned from my mother, the art of tapa printing,” she said. 

The 45-year-old from Vailoa Palauli, Savaii, says her selling price ranges from its sizes; some are sold for $10 and others at $30. 

First time participant in tapa printing, Eterei Salele shared her gratitude toward skills demonstrated in helping create her first tapa. 

“There was a lot of work in terms of the technique required in making it. Before, I was not aware of it but now I understand the effort put in to creating these beautiful works of art,” she said.

Local business owner in elei printing, Pearl Blakelock-Vaai spoke about sharing her knowledge through this workshop.

“I believe the art of making this is quite unique, the way printed materials are used in making everyday clothing. The participants are very keen and excited in taking part and I came to share the skills and knowledge that is needed to pass on this talent,” she added. 

The Ambassador from the Republic of China, Wang Xuefeng took part in the elei printing workshop as a first time experience. 

“We often see the materials and the Samoan designs which look so beautiful and we like it. I bought the material from the shop in order to print on it to make a lavalava. After two and half years of the work in Samoa, now we are becoming real Samoan people. We treat it as the culture, heritage and spirits of the people. I enjoyed making my first printed lavalava to show our respect for the people of Samoa,” he said. 

About 60 people participated in these diverse demonstrations in works of art.

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