|Medium||Hand-painted on Masi (inner bark of the paper mulberry tree)|
|Size||The masi is mounted on customised black card and measures approx. 14cm tall by 28.5cm wide (landscape). The black card measure approx. 37cm tall and 24.5cm wide|
|Copyright||Images and text © Maria Rova|
Fiji Ground Frogs
This painting was inspired by a recent story in our local newspaper: For the last twenty years, the Fiji Ground Frog or “Boto Ni Viti” (Platymantis vitianus) was presumed extinct as a result of the invasion of mongoose and giant toads. However, it has just been rediscovered in the dense rainforests of the Nakauvadra Range. The Boto Ni Viti, one of two native species of frogs, is a great athlete, capable of leaping and swimming at speed. The patterns on my frogs are inspired by traditional Fijian barkcloth designs.
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.