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Noted local siapo educator and artist recognized for excellence

A siapo facemask

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — American Samoa Community College artist, Regina Meredith-Fitiao, has won a Founding President’s Award under the category “Individual Papers: Tradition”, for her paper titled “Making Siapo in Leone Today” during the 17th Biennial Symposia: HIDDEN STORIES/HUMAN LIVES — organized by the Textile Society of America,  an international organization, that recognizes the profound global reach of textiles.

Meredith-Fitiao, was one of three individuals who presented papers for the “Individual Papers: Tradition” Session-category, with all participates from around the world who competed in various sessions/categories presenting virtually via Zoom during the Symposia held Oct. 15-17.

Meredith-Fitiao was encouraged to submit an abstract for a paper by colleague, Dr. Ingrid Algrien, the Curator of Oceanic Collections for the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University.  Once her abstract was accepted, the paper was presented at the Symposia.

“This presentation of my thoughts and observations about siapo is divided into three areas of focus,” Meredith-Fitiao told Samoa News. The 3 areas are:

•           looking at siapo from the standpoint of an artist, journeying through the process of fabrication and motif utilization on cultural and contemporary levels;

•            looking at siapo in the educational arena; sharing it with others to promote its authentic richness in a modern age;

•           interacting with the outside world; contributing to the dialogue, sharing what I know, while attempting to perpetuate it as my ancestors did.

“It is my profound hope that these writings inspire others to delve deeper into their own forms of art making while igniting a rebirth for the love we all have as makers of art,” she said adding that each presenter had 20 minutes to present their papers and use Powerpoint to assist in the presentation.

She said the papers presented in her Session were phenomenal with beautiful works of art that are truly a testament of each presenter's cultural traditions.

On Nov. 21st, the Textile Society of American held its membership meeting and awards were presented among other information and news.


The Founding Presidents Award was inaugurated in 2008 to recognize excellence in the field of textile studies and to ensure that the finest new work is represented at the organization’s biennial symposium.

According to the organization, candidates are nominated by the committee, based on preliminary review of their abstracts, and asked to submit their papers six weeks in advance of the symposium for final review. The nominees receive complimentary conference registration and the winning paper receives an additional monetary award. This award is by nomination only.

Details about Textile Society of America and other information online (