The Pacific Textiles Project presents woven mats and textiles from the South Pacific, celebrating the continuing vitality and importance of these mediums. Featuring over 19 women artists from across the region including Fiji, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti and Hawai‘i, this project explores ideas and art practices that are ubiquitous throughout this region.

For Hawaiians, Tahitians and Cook Islanders, quilts have become new objects of value used in ceremonies, and inheritances. Missionaries first introduced stitching techniques to Hawaiian women in the early 1800s; in turn, they adapted the practice into a uniquely Hawaiian form. The Bible, needle and thread quickly spread to Tahiti and the Cook Islands. The kapa kuiki, tifaifai and the tivaevae function as emblems of their nations replacing customary objects such as bark cloth and carving.

Hawaiian textile makers in particular have used this art form to engage with their history. Their works in this project celebrate individuals and symbols of royalty. Equally, Tahitian tifaifai maker Aline Amaru depicts the members of her country’s dynasty chronicling the last of the Pomare royals.

The use of synthetic wool on pandanus mats has enabled the women of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa to create new types of mats that incorporate their narratives using colour, imaging and text. The mats often visualise strong sentiments of national identity through the replication of emblems as well as demonstrating their makers’ devotion to Christianity. The use of text naming family members also clearly indicates the intimate use of these precious objects.

The Pacific Textiles Project will be the first time that these works from across the region are brought together for an international contemporary art exhibition.

Gallery 4, QAG

A full-colour publication is available from the Gallery Store.


Aline AMARU (Tahiti, French Polynesia)
Gussie R BENTO (Hawai‘i, USA)
Tungane BROADBENT (Mangaia/Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
Susana KAAFI (Tonga/Australia)
Deborah U KAKALIA (Hawai‘i, USA)
Seruwaia KUDRUVI (Lau Islands, Fiji)
Filiti Leya LEDUA (Fiji)
Tusi LUAFUTU (Samoa/Australia)
Finau MARA (Lau Islands, Fiji)
Tekauvai Teariki MONGA (Aitutaki/Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
Margo MORGAN (Hawai‘i, USA)
Laupule POUTASI (Samoa)
Susie SUGI (Japan/Hawai‘i, USA)
Emma TAMARII (Marquesas Islands/Tahiti, French Polynesia)
Marie Therese TAMARII (Marquesas Islands/Tahiti, French Polynesia)
Lepetia TOA (Samoa)
Sivaimauga VAAGI (Samoa)
Tapaeru WILLIAMS (Cook Islands/New Zealand)
Repeka YALI (Lau Islands, Fiji)

Fala su’i 2005
Purchased 2005. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery