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Fa’afetai tele lava from the 13th Annual Tisa’s Tattoo Festival

The "Most Creative Female Polynesian" tattoo at this year's Tisa's Tattoo Fest is a goat, by Otto Jonigkeit. [photo: courtesy]
Source: media release, Tisa’s Tattoo Fest

Alega Beach, AS —It was indeed another successful year of the Tatau celebration for Tisa’s Tattoo Fest 2017. And a major part of this success came from our long time local businesses and new sponsors, who continue to give their Tautua to maintain and celebrate the famous Tatau Art of Samoa. Our sponsors not only appreciate indigenous culture art of our island community, but many of them also wear the Tatau proudly, and participated in the four day event at the Alega venue this year and during past festivals.

Maki Viliamu, named the best Tatau and best Soga’imiti of the year, is not only a crewmember of the Apaula sailing 'alia canoe, he also serves his master Tufuga diligently and is a strong tautua of his family. From Toso and Solo assistance to Tufuga ta tatau, and to 'alia canoe building, he serves with a smile always. The crowd was thrilled to observe the best performance of F'akaupaki dance performed by the winner. It is a specialty dance by a Pe'a we all crave to witness, and that earned him the best Soga'imiti award and Pe'a of 2017. His Pe'a by Su'a Fitiao is a well-deserved award for this young Soga'imiti.

Antonina Lilomaiava took the 2017 Best Malu award. She shared her valuable experience as former Ms. American Samoa with a moving speech about her life, representing our beautiful islands during her reign. “I couldn’t believe how my Malu opened so many doors and didn’t realize how far it took me, in my international travels.” she said. “It was a thrill to represent our island home, to the world.” Her Malu is the work of Li’afaiva Imo Levi of Samoa.

Cash prizes, awards, and gift certificates were presented to both winners of traditional Samoan Tattoos.

Shoulder Sleeve category was awarded to Niko Ah Fook and showcased by Sipu To'oto'oto.

 Most Creative female ink was a three way tie. The beautiful Goat was awarded to visiting guest Paula Waleau, and inked by Otto Jonigkeit of Tonga. Duffy Hudson was the second winner, with an amazing calf ink worn by Tiffany Lewis, and a thigh/leg piece by Niko Ah Fook - was the third winner.

All category winners received cash and gift certificates from K.S. Mart, StarStruck, ASTCA, Tropik Traders, Fosgrens, and tattoo fest T-shirts from the Dept. of Marine & Wildlife Resources.

The best International Tattoo Award was a surprise category, won by Kelly a.k.a. DJ 685 of Samoa. The leg band by Su'a, worn by Trina, was given special recognition.

Fa'afua Cummings was the proud winner of the best of the fest small female tattoo category, by Duffy Hudson. She was the designer of the beautiful Tapu Malu ink by Duffy.

The real winners of the fest are the major and business sponsors according to founder Tisa Faamuli. “We offer our sincere fa'afetai for your partnership in the 2017 celebration, and future Tatau fest events.” Their sponsorship have rightfully earned a spot on the social media page of the famous Tattoo Festival. “Thank you, and Fa’afetai tele lava."

A special thanks to MASI and both the newly crowned Ms. American Samoa 2017, Ms. To'omalatai of Onenoa, and former Ms. American Samoa, Antonina Lilomaiava of Aua.

Fa’amalo to the four tattoo artists in attendance. They produced some of the best art this year. Great to see their amazing art exported proudly by tattooed guests of this year’s popular event.

Special thanks to the ASCC Fine Arts Department performers of the Tatau legend. It was a big hit for all. Thank you judges, Micah and Reggie. Apaula and her crew Capt Su'a Fitiao and Reggie Meredith Fitiao, and auva'a - Malo lava le folau. Fa'afetai.

We appreciate the interest and support of Congresswoman Aumua Amata.

The fest crowd appreciated locally made treats by Siamu Popo Samoa.  Food Security 4 U served complimentary organic food choices as a part of the eco-tourism business spirit of Tisa’s Barefoot World. Tisa’s Tattoo Festival is a product of the Alega Preservation Institute. It is our mission to share the spirit to preserve, conserve, and maintain our long term commitment to revive and take ownership our lost arts and survival skills for a sustainable American Samoa.

According to feedback of the successful event, team commitment and hard work made the festival this year; a peaceful and rewarding experience for ourselves, our community, and off island visitors and working guests. Our team included Bear, Candyman, Bam, Easter, Maria, Princess and Ingrid. Congratulations! 

“The fest was an amazing experience; the artists, the art, local organic food, people and the awesome venue! I loved it!” said Tiffany. 

Su'a Fitiao and Reggie Meredith Fitiao along with their Apaula team laid the first step at the Fest this year, sailing the 'alia canoe to grace the festival with their presence.  We look forward to seeing you again next year.

Fa'afetai ma ia manuia le folauga a le Tatau ma Apaula.

See you next October.