Centuries-old body art demonstrated
Living canvas: Master tatau artist Paul Junior Sulu’ape works on Ricky Masoe at Wellington City Gallery while Tuigamala Tauafiafi helps stretch the skin. Mr Sulu’ape was demonstrating tatau, the traditional Pacific art of tapping tattoo ink into the skin with a comb chisel. He will be at the gallery until September 14. Mr Sulu’ape, who lives in Faleasiu, Samoa, said the work is traditionally passed from father to son. ‘‘I started looking at him doing work when I was a kid. I learned from watching as a stretcher.’’ The traditional designs have been passed down though generations and must not be varied, he said. The demonstrations are part of the Sui faiga ae tumau fa’avae Pacific tatau (tattoo) exhibition at the gallery.