Directed by Lisa Taouma, Marks of Mana (2018) is the first feature film dedicated to Pacific female tattooing.
Of all the art of the skin in the Pacific, some of the markings for women are the most legendary. What was originally a female practise though has long become the domain of men.
Only in recent years have women started to reclaim their space as makers, putting the marks of their ancestors back onto their bodies. New generations of migrant Pasifika are also using traditional tattoo to affirm their cultural identity and self-esteem.
Marks of Mana explores the origins of tatau symbolism for women in the Pacific – from the tatau goddesses who brought the art to Samoa to the practice of marking women in Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Aotearoa.
See the film and hear from director Lisa Taouma along with tattoo artists Julia Mage’au Gray and Tyla Vaeau in a panel talk focusing on this resurgence amongst women. Moderated by Grace Dlabik.
Grace Dlabik is a proud Melanesian/ Austrian, mama and sister and a multidisciplinary Creative Director. Founder of BE. and BE. ONE, she is one of Australia’s most renowned and sought after Creative Directors for her work on high-calibre campaigns for major brands and fashion houses and editorials, boutique labels, music videos, TVCs and film.
Lisa Taouma is a Samoan filmmaker, academic and co-founder of theCoconet.tv an online hub for Pasifika moving image content, currently living in Aotearoa.
Julia Mage'au Gray is a dancer, choreographer, tattooist, photographer and film-maker, exploring her Papuan and Mekeo heritage within an urban Australian context.
Tyla Vaeau is a visual artist and tatau practitioner of Samoan (Sale’a’aumua, Aleipata and Safune, Savai’i) and Pakeha descent, focusing on representation, tatau, diasporic identity and cultural heritage.