The exhibition is based on the scholarship developed for the Te Papa Press book TATAU: a history of Samoan tattooing (2019).
This exhibition presents the photographic art of four Samoan artists, who have been capturing the dynamic practice of contemporary Sāmoan tatau over the last 40 years.
New Zealand photographer Mark Adams has been following tattooing in Sāmoan families in New Zealand, since the late 1970s, documenting the many and varied contexts for their work.
Greg Semu is a Sāmoan artist who began creating his striking self-portraits in the 1990s. His work documents his ongoing 25-year journey of his own Sāmoan tatau,
John Agcaoili, was commissioned by the Japanese American National Museum to photograph the contemporary work of the present generation of Sāmoan tattooists for the exhibition TATAU: Marks of Polynesia (2016).
Angela Tiatia’s digital artwork records moving images of the female Malu exploring relationships between the female body as a fetishized object of desire, and her identity as a Sāmoan woman.
Accompanying the work of the four artists is a video featuring interviews of people, sharing their own tattoos, and perspectives on the cultural significance of Tatau.