|Medium||Hand-painted on Masi (inner bark of the paper mulberry tree)|
|Size||The masi is mounted on A4 black card and measures approx. 12cm wide by 17.5cm tall (portrait)|
|Copyright||Images and text © Maria Rova|
Sere Kali - Mythical Poems
“Sere Kali” refers to mythical poems or chants, often performed by traditional Fijian dancers. These sacred songs are passed from generation to generation by the “Dau Ni Vucu”, or meke dance teachers, who, through song and dance, have kept tribal legends alive to this day. This is one in a set of barkcloth paintings depicting this vibrant form of story-telling unique to Fijian culture.
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.