Turtles - Pacific Voyagers
Sea turtles are perceived to bring blessings from ancestral sea gods in ancient Fijian culture. The trans-oceanic migration of these large reptiles remains one of nature’s wonders; This painting portrays the forces of ocean currents, moon, sun and stars which are said to guide sea turtles back to particular nesting beaches thousands of miles from winter feeding waters.
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.
|Medium||Hand-painted on Masi (inner bark of the paper mulberry tree)|
|Size||The masi is mounted on A4 black card and measures approx. 19.2cm tall by 22cm wide (landscape)|
|Copyright||Images and text © Maria Rova|