Mothers Love (2016)
Mixed media assemblage, 304x609mm, stretched canvas

Joana Monolagi has been creating Fijian arts for about 20 years. She was born in the town of Ba, Viti Levu, Fiji, moved to Aotearoa New Zealand in 1978, and now lives in Pakuranga. Monolagi enjoys working with arts from her Fijian heritage such as masi (Fijian barkcloth) printing, creating Fijian costumes, teaching meke (dance) and telling Fijian stories. In 1990 she started to weave and learn to print masi. When Monolagi began experimenting with masi printing she drew on her memories of watching women in Fiji making and printing it. She taught herself how to create stencils for printing onto masi and enjoys making new stencils which she adds to her collection. Monolagi experiments with new materials available in Aotearoa New Zealand, combining the ‘old’ and the ‘new’. She values the importance of sharing the knowledge and skills that she has, which she does by running workshops for women’s groups in the Fijian community. Monolagi is the Fijian coordinator for the Fiji village at Auckland’s annual Pasifika Festival. She has held this role since 2001 and sees it as another way of showcasing Fijian culture and heritage through the arts.

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