American Samoa’s internationally known and award winning Tufuga Wilson Fitiao, of Suluape Aiga Ta Pe’a, continues his support of the Tatau arts. His tattooing technique is a well-known combination of traditional tattoo and Siapo patterns, and his skin art designs revolutionized the Samoan Tattoo. [Samoa News file photo]

Excitement is building as American Samoa prepares for its annual celebration of the art of the Tatau during the 9th Annual Tisa’s Tattoo Fest, held this year October 25-27, 2013. “Atu Samoa is a tiny group of islands, yet our art has become one of the most influential in fashion and skin art. Simply put, the world has gone wild over our art,” said Tattoo Fest founder Tisa Fa'amuli.
For example, when fashion giant Nike misused Tatau art gender patterns it caused controversy but it also showcased the ability of the Samoan islands to influence the world at large with the Tatau. “It is the one and only art form worn proudly in Samoan villages and also by non Samoans around the world. They wear our tatau patterns like we wear their blue jeans … Samoa is influenced by world culture, but we Samoans also influence world culture,” Tisa told Samoa News.
“I am thrilled that Tisa’s Tattoo Fest is the time each year for us to honor our traditional Tatau art form and to celebrate how it has been re-envisioned by the new generation of artists. The success of Tisa’s Tattoo Fest over the years belongs to the new generation,” Tisa said.
“Every year, it is so exciting to see how the young artists continue the maintenance of this fine art of the Samoan islands.”
And Tisa’s message for the young generation of artists: “Be true to your cultural identity, ae aua lava ne’I maluelue your faith in your roots! The Tattoo Fest may have revived interest in our art, but it’s up to you to carry it with pride and guard it from distraction of any kind and never to allow anything to cause you to lose faith in who you are.”
After nine years of celebrating the Tatau Art of Samoa at Tisa’s Tattoo Fest, Tisa is also celebrating her 65th birthday at this year’s popular event that she founded in 1993. “I am pleased and satisfied with the successes of Tatau Art and how it has influenced the arts in every corner of the world today.”
Again this year, The Tattoo Fest is partnering with ASCC art students and their teachers who will be demonstrating their love for cultural arts including carving, siapo elei arts and the tatau.
“Today, most of our tattooists are students at ASCC and we are grateful to be positive role models in their growth and education. Many have turned out local art proudly displayed in the community and worn by visitors, and locals.”
Tisa is proud and happy that the Tattoo Fest has helped inspire so many local tattoo artists. Tutuila Island now has four Tattoo Shops and two traditional Tufuga artists to accommodate the demands of our community and tourists. Many moved off island and found instant success in the tattooing business.
 “Tatau is great for our local economy and brings tourists to our islands in quest of the traditional (Au) tools,” says Tisa.
This year’s tattoo fest will be “all about local” says Tisa: It will be dedicated to the business community who have believed in and supported the Tatau Art at Tisa’s Tattoo Festival over the years. Without their help, the Tatau Art celebration of the Samoan islands would not be possible, she says.
“Our mission this year, at the Tattoo Fest, will look close to home as we celebrate how all of Tutuila has made the annual Tattoo Fest such a wonderful success over the past nine years!”
“In 2013, we celebrate ourselves, so we can gather our strength for the 10th year Anniversary of Tisa’s Annual Tattoo Fest in the last weekend of October 2014.
In 2014, our hope is to grow the Tattoo Festival Island wide.
Our proud major sponsors include American Samoa Visitors Bureau, Samoa News, BlueSky Communications, GHC Reid & Co.Ltd/Vailima and Barefoot Republic/ IMPEX.
Also Tool Shop and Industrial Gases, Polynesian Picks, Ace American Industries, Trade Winds Hotel, Tropik Traders, 3439 Foot Wear, Young Electric and Computer World are proud sponsors of Business Cash Award sponsorships for the best of the Fest in several categories. 
Get Ready for Tisa’s 9th Annual Tattoo Fest and for more information contact: tisa@tisasbarefootbar.com or call 622-7447 or 731-7100 for additional information.
Countdown with us on Samoa News Facebook page.


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