The Kele’a (shell) has held great value for us islanders since ancient times. These gorgeous shells were used as objects of beauty. However, there was another very significant function that they served.
Each time a ship appeared on the horizon, these seemingly delicate looking Kele’as were used to raise an alarm. The sound that emitted from it was powerful and as it resounded throughout the island, everyone was informed.
Today, these beautiful shells continue to serve as a touch of unique décor.
Medium and Materials used: Indigenous Tongo ink and soil paint on 100% Tapa.
Mediums and material used:
Tapa: is made by beating the bark of the Tongan Mulberry tree for hours, until thin strips finally flatten and stretch out. These pieces are then joined together firmly to form a canvas like surface.
Tongo Ink: is made from the extracted fluid of Mangrove bark. This fluid is boiled at various temperatures to get a variety of hues.
Soil Paint: The soil used as paint is found only in specific places in the ancient island of Eua and in the past, it was used to wash hair