Water-based paint, with coral sand from the sun-soaked beaches of Fiji…With its delicately curved, waxy petals and unique fragrance, the frangipani is the quintessential tropical flower in the minds of many. Frangipanis are synonymous with celebration in Fiji: strings of them are worn around the neck during dances and feasts. And a frangipani tucked behind the right ear shows that the wearer is in a relationship, while a blossom sported on the left announces that the wearer is free and single!
Fijian ‘masi’, also called barkcloth, is produced by village women on islands such as Vatulele. A renewable resource, masi is made by harvesting strips of bark from specially grown paper-mulberry trees. Each piece takes days to process, involving repeated pounding, soaking and stretching. These traditional skills are passed on from generation to generation, with certain clans being considered the experts in masi-making. The uneven quality of the masi reflects its handmade origin.
Maria Rova lives in Nadi, Fiji. Her artwork is inspired by the wildlife, culture, and scenery of the Pacific, especially that of the remote island of Taveuni to the north of the Fiji group, which is home to her husband’s traditional clan. Sustained by forest and reef, Taveuni villagers still follow many of the ancient cultural practices that give Fijian people their unique identity. The artist wishes to acknowledge gratefully the impact that her Fijian family has had on her work.
|Medium||Hand-painted on Masi (inner bark of the paper mulberry tree)|
|Size||The masi is mounted on A4 black card and measures approx. 18.5cm tall by 11cm wide (portrait)|
|Copyright||Images and text © Maria Rova|