Mai Yasawa by Sigavou Studios close up

Mai Yasawa

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This painting was inspired by a boat trip to the Yasawa Islands in Western Fiji. Jutting up out of a turquoise sea, the tips of volcanic mountains form a dramatic skyline. Shown here are Kuata, Waya Lailai, and Waya. The reefs fringing these remote islands are teaming with an amazing array of sea creatures. The sight of a school of spinner dolphins, leaping playfully through the waves, is always a special thrill!


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. 



Crafter/ArtisanSigavou Studios
ArtistMaria Rova
MediumHand-painted on Masi (inner bark of the paper mulberry tree)
SizeThe masi is mounted on customised blue card and measures approx. 17cm tall by 35cm wide (landscape). The blue card measure approx. 21cm tall and 40cm wide
CopyrightImages and text © Maria Rova