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The Malu takes center stage at the 16th Annual Tisa’s Tattoo Festival

A young woman with a malu
A cultural event presented by the Alega Preservation Institute
Source: Alega Preservation Institute

Alega beach, AMERICAN SAMOA — The strong support of women with Malu, Laei a Samoa and their mothers from across the sea, was felt throughout the organic venue of The Tatau Festival 2021 at village Alega this past weekend.

“I am honored to have the gracious support of the most powerful female leaders of the Samoan Islands in the celebration of Tatau Art, in 2021,” said Tisa Faamuli, founder of the event and owner of Tisa’s Barefoot Bar in American Samoa.

The Honorable Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata and newly elected Prime Minister of Independent Samoa, the Honorable Naomi Fiame Mata’afa, share one cultural art factor in common. They are both members of the Laei a Samoa community, the Malu Tatau Art. These two ground-breaking women, are the first to return to the most senior level of civic leadership in modern times, to walk in the foot steps of the Goddess of War Nafanua and Queen Salamasina

A special thank you to these two incredible women —Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata of American Samoa and Prime Minister Naomi Fiame Mata’afa of Samoa, for their voice and support of the Global Malu Movement and Laei a Samoa. 

“I am honored and welcome this rare opportunity to unite all Malus, under strong leadership of our current female leaders. It has been my dream to revive and elevate, the journey of Twin Goddesses Taema and Tilafaiga and the origin of the Tatau, brought on to our shores by Twin Goddesses, long ago,” Tisa said noting that hundreds of centuries later, “the chant is still fresh in the minds of my grandchildren’s generation, as they danced to the beat of ‘Le mafuaga lenei na iloa ai le Tatau I Samoa’ at the fest stage each year,” Tisa said.

Shout out to nine young Malus that participated in the spirit of the Siva Fa’ataupou contest, on Social Media. Your contribution to the Tatau Art this year, is one of the most significant recognition of who you are and where you come from.  The presence of young Malus was felt throughout the venue at the two-day celebration.


Congratulations to The best of the fest Malu Siva, Jahnillican, category #3 of Faga’itua High school, and the village of Aoa. It was a family affair and the support of young women and their motherd stood out most for all, in their quest to support the festival this year. Faafetai lava.

Category #4 was won by Jerry Tominiko and Meriene Seumanu, both of Tutuila Island. All submissions were well presented and enjoyed by families and friends, including the gracious Siva by winner of last year’s contest, Ms. Vaimauga of Pago Pago. Fa’afetai tele lava.

Last minute submissions from Hawai’i and New Zealand topped the classy contest with the best ever Siva Fa’ataupou submissions, going viral as we speak. Thank you for celebrating the spirit of the Laei a Samoa with American Samoa. We look forward to your participation next year.

We were also thrilled to welcome our Soga’imiti and prestigious member of TOA O SAMOA guests, John Letuli from Africa and his lovely wife. They are also proud members of the Laei a Samoa.

It is also a thrill to announce winners of Google survey results, and the best of Tisa’s Tattoo Fest Artists. Congratulations to Joe Ioane who was awarded best of contemporary art and Su’a Wilson Fitiao, awarded the best Tufuga of the 16th annual Tisa’s Tatau Festival in American Samoa.


Our sixteen-year journey would not be possible without the sponsorship of our long time sponsors. Their commitment to support our mission of Revival Of The Tatau Art in American Samoa is how we advanced this far. Fa’afetai and Fa’amalo to GHC Reid & Co Ltd/ Vailima, Samoa News, South Seas Broadcasting, KHJ 93.1, V103, Tropik Traders, Tool Shop, Industrial Gases, Neils Ace Home Center, Harbor Maritime, McConnell Dowell, Cost U Less, The Honorable Congresswoman Amata, Regina Meredith and ASCC Fine Arts Class, and ASTCA. We welcomed the support of our new sponsors, DDW, DOC, office of the Governor, Moana Chips, Paradise Pizza, and Manu’a Store. In kind donations of Lynn Holden, Ulale, HC Su’a Lucia, Janet Mulipola, Lance Tauoa, Tau And McCann of USA Institute of Sports.

The 16th Annual Tatau Festival was brought to you by Alega Preservation Institute and THE American Samoa Visitors Bureau. We salute college students and all young people who came to support the festival this year. Fa’afetai tele lava for your Tautua.

Tisa’s Annual Tattoo Festival is a presentation of the Alega Preservation Institute for preservation of the cultural arts of the Lae’i a Samoa, founded by Tisa Fa’amuli in 1993.

“Today, and at this point after a long, lonely journey, I am humbled by the support of our community — locally and abroad,” Tisa gratefully acknowledged.