|Medium||Hand-painted on Masi (inner bark of the paper mulberry tree)|
|Size||Approx. 45cm tall by 80cm wide (mount included)|
|Packaging||This is a large piece of artwork. We carefully package it using styrofoam sheeting either side of the artwork, which protects it whilst in transit.|
|Copyright||Images and text © Maria Rova|
Turtles of Taveuni II
One of the tribal symbols of my husband’s people, who live on the island of Taveuni in northern Fiji, is the turtle. Giant leatherbacks visit the beaches near to our family’s village annually, to lay their eggs in sun-drenched sands, before journeying on through the Pacific Ocean, following ancient migratory paths. Traditional Fijian legends feature sea turtles as symbols of wisdom and blessing.
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.