The Kele’a (shell) is the pride of the ocean bed and every beachfront. Each piece is unique and beautifully etched with a gamut of patterns running across and all over it. In ancient times the Kele’a was used amongst Tongan tribes to warn about the unknown ships spotted over the horizon. It was also used to summon everyone in the community.
Today, these beautiful Kele’a continue to line our beaches and serve as a touch of unique décor.

Medium:  Traditional Tongo ink and special soil paint on Tapa surface. Tongo ink is made from the extracted  fluid of Mangrove bark. The special 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. Tapa – is barkcloth , 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.

Bought by Neal and Vicki of Australia; and Bob, Kylie, Ruby and Molly of New Zealand. aWe hope this painting helps to refresh your Tongan memories!