Kulupu Falehanga ‘i Teleiloa
Kulupu Falehanga ‘i Teleiloa | New Zealand/Tonga; est. 2010 | Ngatu tā’uli 2011 | Barkcloth: hiapo (paper mulberry) with koka pigment and black synthetic polymer paint | Commissioned 2011. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © The artist
Acquisitions of works by leading artists from each of the Gallery’s five contemporary collection areas are on display to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Gallery of Modern Art.
Contemporary Pacific Art Collection
Ngatu tā’uli 2011
Barkcloth: hiapo (paper mulberry) with koka pigment and black synthetic polymer paint
Ngatu tā’uli are black-marked barkcloths of great cultural significance in Tonga. Made from strips of handbeaten paper mulberry bark, ngatu tā’uli are customarily made only under the instruction of chiefly women for special purposes, such as royal funerals. With a predominantly black (uli) composition, the 22 — metre long ngatu tā’uli in ‘Threads’ was created by a women’s art group based in both Auckland, New Zealand, and Tatakamotonga, Tonga, who worked with respected Tongan elders in Auckland.
Whilst the cloth has been marked with traditional designs — fakafo’ihea (hea fruits), amoamokofe (caressing bamboo), vakatou (double—hulled canoe) and the chiefly muimoa (chicken tail) — the members of this group have chosen to replace the traditional natural black pigment with a synthetic polymer paint more readily available in Auckland. The collaborative and formal processes informing the creation of this cloth, ensures that it is imbued with great spiritual and cultural significance.