TAFA ( ( ( O ) ) ) ATA

Coming from Manuʻa tele
Grandmother of the clan, Māsina

Makes their journey warmwards
Calling across that deep pōuliuli

Sparking offerings for tapuafanua
In each restored mālumālu

Cresting over Tutuila mountains
Numerous Lupe breathe in and out

Their gagana faʻalāuga returned
Skies, minds, hearths made tupu with

Systems of wellness and knowledge
A democracy of soālaupule and tautuanaga

Reaching through ʻUpolu plains
Feʻe spreads their tentacles, precious

Uʻa-dotted clan estates combine
Marked into precious beaten cloths

Lineages and intellectual hxstories
Painted over bullet, dollar, pound and mark

Yearning between Apolima and Manono
The waves shimmer on the sunken shores

The ringed multicoloured reefs, for Aveau
Every moment lived before and now and again

Sensing pleasure in soʻotaga after
Gregorian shame-time and linearity

Cresting and gliding in Savaiʻi highlands
Branches, leaves and toto through Atualoa

Drawing suli back to this undying world
That holds being in networked collective

Just right, glistening ula in the sun and those
Magic folds keeping talalaupaogo secret


Tafa o ata - dawn
Manuʻa tele - east of archipelago, seat of culture
Māsina - moon deity
Pōuliuli - deep dark night/beginning of the world
Tapuafanua - guardian spirits
Mālumālu - temple
Tutuila - east of archipelago
Lupe - royal pigeon prized before colonisation
Gagana faʻalāuga - chiefly oratory language
Tupu - sovereign, ancestral
Soālaupule - deliberative consultation
Tautuanaga - service towards others
ʻUpolu - west of archipelago
Feʻe - octopus deity
Uʻa - paper mulberry tree
Apolima - west of archipelago
Manono - west of archipelago
Aveau - starfish deity
Soʻotaga - relationships, alliances
Savaiʻi - west of archipelago
Atualoa - centipede deity
Suli - descendents
Ula - red, dance, sacred
Talalaupaogo - serrated edge of pandanus leaves


TAFA ( ( ( O ) ) ) ATA is the ‘dawn’ in a series of siapo viliata (animated barkcloths) by Monash alumnus, artist and researcher, Dr Léuli Eshrāghi. The work offers ‘recent future’ feelings from 2025 on faiga faʻakolonē (colonial impacts) in the Great Ocean region. This work is part of Eshrāghi’s wider focus on recentring the Indigenous gender spectrum of faʻafafine-faʻatama in kinship structures and representing Sāmoan visual cultures by meditating on online access to the oldest barkcloths held in colonial collections. These include siapo mamanu (handpainted barkcloths) collected by the British Navy and donated between 1700–1783 to the University of Glasgow and 1837–41 to the British Museum. Combining animated linework highlighting three of these barkcloths and a poem on the colonial ruptures between cyclical and linear temporality, TAFA ( ( ( O ) ) ) ATA is a way of haunting colonial museums and knowledge systems with the affirmation of continuing Indigenous pleasures, temporalities and ceremonial-political structures.

01 Agatha Gothe-Snape       02 A Constructed World
03 Art You Can Wear        

The MUMA ONLINE design identity draws on the formal parameters of standard screen resolution and two-point perspective to suggest an exchange of both physical and online pages. Design: Ella Sutherland

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MUMA acknowledges the Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation on whose lands Monash University is located. We pay our respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging, and celebrate the rich, ancient and continuing art cultures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia.

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