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The legacy of the Tatau Festival

Taape Fa'amuli, Reggie Meredith and Su'a Wilson Fitiao at the opening of the Pacific World Arts Exhibition at the Oakland Museum in Oakland, California back in July 2015.  [SN file photo]
Source: media release, Tisa’s Tattoo Fest

Are you ready? Just weeks before the 13th Annual Tisa’s Tattoo Fest, 2017. Did you know that the biggest export in American Samoa is the Samoan Tattoo? Years of promoting the Tatau has earned American Samoa a name, in the who’s who of the tattoo world of Pago Pago. “We revived the Tatau art, and exported more Samoan Tattoos than NFL players and soldiers over the years,” according to Tisa Faamuli, founder of Tisa’s Tattoo Fest.

Marketing is a key factor in promoting a product to the international community. Most importantly, we are building a tourism product for American Samoa’s struggling tourism industry that needs help.

Tourists and visitors travel to our island to get traditional tattoos annually. Clearly, we have created a successful tattooing market for tourism on Tutuila Island, Tisa told Samoa News.

This year, Tisa’s Tattoo Fest, proudly highlights the best of local tattoo artists. The most exciting part of introducing a product in the market is the new growth. Local artists are doing amazing art not only in the ink, but their spinoff is worth noting.

International Award winning Traditional Tufuga artist, Su’a Fitiao Wilson of Matu’ú is world renowned for his traditional tattooing art of Pe’a and Malu Tatau.

Today, Su’a also teaches Samoan traditional art at Pacific Horizon, and ASCC of American Samoa. He has continued the traditional fiber arts and teaching new generations, the art of tapa making. Painting and carving are also an impressive part of his portfolio. Su’a travels the world to promote the art of American Samoa by doing demonstrations of the Tatau along with his wife, renowned local artist Reggie Meredith. This artistic power couple has brought good will for our country by sharing the art of our ancestors with the international and local communities.

Did you see that Moana canoe that sailed into harbor earlier this year? Su’a explored the art of building a sailing alia canoe of our ancestors and successfully sailed the newly built canoe into Pago Pago Harbor, during the showing of the famous MOANA movie this past summer. It was well received and cheered by all, on its first voyage to Pago Pago Harbor. Be on the lookout for the next phase of voyaging alia building by Master Builder and Tufuga Suá Fitiao Wilson.

Duffy Hudson, another award winning artist of Tisa’s Tattoo Fest, uses a tattooing machine to apply his popular tattoos, commonly used in the tattooing world today. Duffy expanded his tattooing career into painting, influenced by his tattoo art. He has successfully been commissioned to do paintings and art locally. His amazing work can be viewed in local restaurants and public buildings, where they are displayed and are available for purchase. Duffy is a highly sought after tattoo artist by off island customers. He owns and operates Tatau Manaia, also known as (beautiful tattoos) in English. Log on to his Facebook social media page to book your tattoo.

Joe Ioane, has carved out quite a career for himself in Tattoo ink.  An award winning artist four times at Tisa’s Tattoo Fest, Joe built the first tattoo shop OFF THE ROCK, on island and a reputation to serve his customers. His location is ideal and convenient for the traveling public. American Samoa is proud to have a beautiful Tattoo shop that represents our island well and meets the demands of tattoos from tourists and visitors to our island. Joe is also a member of US Armed Forces; he serves the Army proudly and is an outstanding father and member of the community. He and his wife Uila expanded their tattoo shop to include fashion for women, men, and children. Their new line of clothing is also greatly influenced by Joe’s tattooing career and full support of his lovely wife Uila. OFF The Rock is located on the beautiful coastline of Avau village before Nuúuli, heading west of town.

El Uiligitone, comes from a well-known artist family, he is a nephew of the famous Sau Uiligitone of Vaitogi, and is no stranger to the art of Tattooing. Like the rest of our local tattooists, El is a free style artist who has won awards for best of the fest tattooing, in previous tattoo festival competitions and is highly recommended for his unique free style Ink.

We look forward to welcoming tattoo artists Paulo Mauia of Finest Tattoo Shop of Samoa, who honors the Annual Tattoo Fest with some of the finest ink in the last three years.

We want to welcome back one of the best tattoo artists, who is representing himself from Tonga. Otto won the best of the fest award for smaller tattoos competition, last year. Be on the lookout for this unique and fine ink artist at the fest this October 26-29, 2017 at Alega village.

Do you want to increase visibility of your business on island? Join the fest and be a sponsor, of the famous Tisa’s Tattoo Festival event.