Since the 1980s I have deconstructed and restored tapa (Polynesian bark cloth) originally made in Tonga by the late Emalata Tu'a Kaufusi and her family.

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To make tapa, the inner bark of the mulberry tree is pounded until it becomes a paper-like fabric. This laborious process is shared by many women working together. The finished cloth has several layers glued with starch.

 

After separating the layers and cleaning them, I use the tapa as a substrate for inks and dyes, which are absorbed and embedded within the layers of the cloth.

Kaanapali, 2017, 23"h x 40"w, tapa, sumi ink.