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Tatau — Our biggest artistic export

An aerial view of Tisa’s Barefoot Bar during the 2016 Tattoo Festival.  [courtesy photo]Everyone is excited to welcome the sailing 'alia canoe, 'Apaula' to Tisa’s Annual Tattoo Festival 2017.  [courtesy photo]

ALEGA, AS — Are you ready? It’s getting closer. Preparations for the 13th Annual Tattoo Festival are well underway to celebrate the Tatau art this year with new designs and exciting ink by renowned local tattoo artists.

“We look forward to seeing everyone at the beach for the October festival celebration. It is a community effort event that helped revive and preserve the art of the Tatau,” said Tisa Faamuli who established the Fest in 1993. “Today, we are proud of our accomplishments,” says Tisa. “Samoan tattoos are the biggest export of American Samoa, by local artists.”

What’s new this year?

Everyone is excited to welcome the sailing 'alia canoe, Apaula, to Tisa’s Annual Tattoo Festival 2017. Renowned local Master Tufuga  Ka Pe'a and  'alia canoe designer/ builder, Su’a Fitiao Wilson of Matu’u invites you to join the fest for public viewing of his latest  masterpiece — sailing 'alia — during the four-day fest weekend.

The Apaula will be introduced opening day, Thursday, Oct. 26th with the Legend of Apaula, by the ASCC Arts Department whose members will also perform skits on Saturday afternoon.

Also new this year, is an art exhibition by Tatau Manaia owner/operator Duffy Hudson. Both award winning tattoo artists Duffy and Wilson started out their tattooing career in the early days of Tisa’s Tattoo Festival.

The Tattoo Fest offers new opportunities to renew interest in reviving traditional arts and most importantly, to connect new generations with survival skills of our ancestors and sustainable cultural arts that have been kept alive for over 3000 years.

Another highlight this year is a guided tour of the Alega Marine Sanctuary on Friday, with eco-tourism students. Also that day, enjoy weaving, umu making and a dessert tasting.

“Tattooing is eco-tourism, and we want to welcome local businesses and people who may be interested in ecotourism to join the tour of the famous Barefoot Bar venue, and learn secrets of environmentally friendly economic development at the village level. Meet new eco- tourism developers of Women’s Business Center of Pavaiaí. Their produce and products will be on display at the fest this year. Organic and chemical free food will be available from Food Security 4 U,” Tisa told Samoa News.

On Saturday and Sunday, tattooing will be in full swing. Don’t miss out on the 'Best of the Fest' tattoo award competition on Sunday where the new Ms. American Samoa will be on hand, making one of her first public appearances.

Come and don’t forget to invite friends and family to support your ink and your artist at one of the most popular events in American Samoa.

Want to know the meaning of patterns in your Samoan tattoo? Meet the author of Tatau translation at the fest. He will be able to help you understand the details of your new Samoan ink.


Our mission of safeguarding our culture, and promoting our islands as an eco-friendly destination, is a reflection of our vision; a sustainable and environmentally friendly American Samoa.

We are proud of what we have accomplished together with our sponsors. Please support them by patronizing their businesses. Without them, this enormous undertaking would not have been possible. Samoa News, American Samoa Visitors Bureau, Industrial Gases, Tool Shop, Neil’s Ace American Industries, GHC Reid & Company Ltd, South Seas Broadcasting.

Tropik Traders, Skyview, and Fosgrens are longtime business sponsors of Tisa’s Tattoo Festival. We welcome back McConnell Dowell, and Harbor Maritime, our newest partners. Your support has made it possible for us to continue promoting our island arts and has built a strong eco-friendly business foundation for Tutuila Island. 

“You genuinely and sincerely care about the preservation of our culture, and keeping our arts alive for present and future generations,” said Tisa, “and we thank you for your continuous sponsorship.”

The 13th Annual Tisa’s Tattoo Festival runs from Thursday, Oct. 26 to Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, from 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

This is a rain or shine event.

General admission is collected at the entrance: $5 adults, $2 students. All proceeds benefit the Alega Preservation Institute. Visit or for more information about us. Call 731-7100 or 770-9266 to book your tattoo appointment.

Samoa News has been a core sponsor of Tisa’s Tattoo Festival since its inception, and once again welcomes this year’s festival participants.