Aline Amaru | Tahiti b.1941 | La Famille Pomare (tifaifai) (Pa'oti style) 1991 | Commercial cotton cloth and thread in applique and embroidered technique 231 x 238cm | Purchased 2004. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
La Famille Pomare (tifaifai) (Pa'oti style) 1991
Aline Amaru is an innovator of the tifaifai (appliqué quilt) textile and is known for her depiction of historical scenes rather than the floral or abstract patterning associated with this form of textile. Tifaifai have been present in eastern Polynesia from the early nineteenth century and their emergence is associated with the introduction and encouragement of needlework by missionaries’ wives. La Famille Pomare is based on Tahiti’s royal Pomare family, the last reigning monarchy whose dynasty was eclipsed by the onset of French colonial rule in Polynesia. The five figures represented in the cloth are portrayed in chronological order and consider the legacy of royalty in Tahiti. Notable for its combination of different sewing techniques, La Famille Pomare reveals the richness of this practice across the Pacific. Amaru combines the lesser known nana'o sewing technique, raised appliqué, intricate hand embroidery and the paumotu stitch that she learnt from her mother. The tifaifai has all but replaced the traditional bark cloth, and these are now important ceremonial objects passed through families as heirlooms.