Meet Rebeka Ainea, 54 years of age originally from the village of Siutu, Salailua and now resides at her family land in Vaitele. Rebeka, a local entrepreneur, displayed her talents in tapa making and her crafts at the display booths at the TATTE Conference Centre during the Pacific Week of Agriculture in Apia.
Ainea is deeply passionate about continuing one of the oldest Samoan cultural art forms – the siapo – after learning the skills at 13 years old, she has been refining her talent for over 40 years.
“I have been making siapos professionally for about 20 years now. I started learning at a very young age and have never looked back”
“It’s not my family’s main source of income, but I continue to do this because I am personally committed to reviving the art of the siapo”.
This talent is being practiced less and less, which initiated the Government of Samoa to reignite the cultural art through its community programs with the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development (MWCSD).
Ainea explained that the art form of siapo making is difficult and expensive, “sometimes the farmers charge so much for such a small branch of the mulberry tree, but I take it, because without that, I cannot make any siapos.”
Ainea is hopeful that through the PWA deliberations, she and other local entrepreneurs who rely on farmers, will receive some assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to ensure mulberry trees are planted and grown to supply the raw materials for this cultural art form to continue to be done in Samoa.
From Tuesday to Friday you will find her in the faleo’o (samoan fale) at the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) Cultural Village in the heart of Apia, near the FMFMII Government Building, from Tuesday to Friday every week.
The Samoa Cultural Village is an initiative by STA that showcases Samoa’s culture and traditions in a fun and interactive way. Aniea is part of that cultural show at the STA Fale which showcases special demonstrations on the making of the siapo for tourists and locals that come by the Samoa Cultural Village.
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