Samoan Tapa Cloth: Two-Piece Set of Modular Silkscreen Prints Mounted on Wooden Box Frames

$900.00

This is our Samoan Tapa Wall Art of Modular Silkscreen Prints

We proudly offer this Samoan Tapa wall art set, consisting of two silkscreen prints mounted on handmade wooden box frames. Dimensions of each module: 32.5″ x 19.5″. Total area: 1,267 sq. in. Colors: black, gray, and aquamarine on white. The two modules come with a screw connection, so that they can e hung either separately or as one piece. Source: a Samoan tapa cloth, early 20th century, painted freehand using a number of colors. Photographed at a Skinner auction, Boston, October 2019.

What is Tapa Cloth?

Tapa cloth (or simply tapa) is a bark cloth made in the islands of the Pacific Ocean, primarily in Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji. Although the term tapa is from Tahiti and the Cook Islands, people understand the word throughout the region and indeed internationally. Samoans call the same cloth siapo. Islanders make the cloth from the bark of the siapo or paper mulberry tree, originally introduced from Southeast Asia. They decorate tapa by rubbing, stamping, stenciling, or dyeing, creating patterns that form a grid of squares. Each of the squares contain geometric patterns with repeated motifs such as fish and plants. The most common dyes tend to be black and rust-brown.

A Contemporary Take on a Tribal Design

This Samoan Tapa wall art set brings a unique contemporary look to a tribal design. While the original source for this design was a large tapa cloth, 136″ x 87″, we achieved a more dramatic look by focusing on only a portion of the whole. The original piece had been painted free-hand using quite a variety of colors, including black, yellow, aquamarine, violet-blue, red, pink, and rust brown. We dramatically reduced the color palette to three colors on white. Finally, we opted for a horizontal pairing of the two modules. Thus, we created an installation with an overall width of over three times that of its height. The resulting design creates a narrative line with a beginning, middle, and end, almost like that of a story.