|Medium||Hand-painted on Masi (inner bark of the paper mulberry tree)|
|Size||The masi is mounted on A4 black card and measures approx. 11cm tall by 18.5cm wide (landscape)|
|Copyright||Images and text © Maria Rova|
Shell and Stars
My favourite Pacific shell, the nautilus, is the inspiration for this design. The energy of our swirling ocean is represented by spiralling sand lines drawn in white coral sand from Yasawa beaches, and dark, volcanic sand from Nadi’s Wailoaloa Beach. Perfect nautilus shells can usually only be obtained by killing live specimens. Help to protect our reefs from such environmentally damaging practices by collecting a shell like this one, painted on masi made from plantation-grown trees, a renewable natural resource.
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.