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Tutuila opens virtual borders for Tatau Festival

American Samoa is opening up its “virtual borders” for Tisa’s Tattoo Festival on 23 to 25 October 2020. And event host, Tisa Faamuli, is inviting Samoans all over the world to celebrate the centuries old art form of the Samoan tatau by participating in online activities.

In a forum that will be live streamed, there will be a discussion on the topic of Tatau Culture Art and how it relates to the Bible, according to a press statement from festival hosts, Alega Preservation Institute and Tisa’s Barefoot Bar.

Faamuli said 2020 marks the 15th year since it began in Alega village, on the east side of Tutuila island. It’s a hybrid festival because it will include local (in Alega) and virtual (online) activities.

”I am thrilled to learn new ways to reach Tatau art lovers and supporters with the help of the social media generation. We recognize that many of our friends, aiga, people and places that we care about have been gravely affected – causing us sadness, stress, and uncertainty,” said Faamuli.

“The world is changing so much before our eyes – and because of this we believe celebrating the pe’a, our culture and way of life is more important this year than at any other time in our 15 year history of the Tattoo Festival…our living art becomes more meaningful when it is threatened by modern culture and COVID-19.”

The event is made possible from the gracious support of the American Samoa Government (A.S.G.) and business community.

For the first time, the event will stream live.

“On site in beautiful Alega village, American Samoa, with COVID-19 access restrictions in place, the three-day event will be streaming live to reduce the number of fest goers under the current Code Blue declaration facing our island,” the statement reads.

“This will make the 15th Annual 2020 Tattoo Festival a global event, for Samoans all over the world to attend virtually online, connecting our people together in a cultural event unique to American Samoa – opening our borders virtually and reuniting friends, family, and tourists from abroad.”

Friday to Sunday, 23 to 25 October, the three-day event will highlight original versions of the Tatau history through performing arts.

A forum that will include a local panel and overseas online guests, will discuss traditional arts – carving, siapo and tattooing. Everyone is invited to participate.

There will be fire knife dancing, music groups, singers, Samoan Siva groups, and live tattooing.

Prizes will be awarded, said Tisa’s in virtual online contests that will showcase the love of culture and the Tatau.

The public is invited to participate in virtual Tatau activities: a short film will be produced. Those who wear the traditional Samoan tattoo are invited to dance to the Tatau Song to compete for the ‘Best of the Fest’ title.

Dance entries must be captured in a video clip. Video submissions will be judged by social media audience (most liked).

“We will also be asking people to submit videos of their tattoos for cash prizes and awards, too, with people voting from all over the world,” said Tisa’s.

“Stay tuned for more information, and share Tisa’s Tattoo Festival Facebook page with your friends. Memories from the last 15 years of Festivals, slide shows and videos are a must see. Book your own watch party and share your Tatau memories with friends and families.”

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