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Ginger lily (Kopi)



  • Details

    Alternative title
    Ginger lily (Kopi)
    Media category
    Materials used
    hand-sewn tivaevae manu, cotton
    213.0 x 303.0 cm
    Rudy Komon Memorial Fund 2022
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Unknown artist

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Tivaevae, as they are known in the Cook Islands, or tifaifai, as they are known in Tahiti, are the vital women’s textile tradition practised throughout eastern Polynesia. Meaning ‘to patch’, tivaevae draw from both western and Polynesian sources. Though missionaries brought western quilt-making and modern fabrics to the Pacific, tivaevae have a direct connection to much older bark cloth traditions. Gifts of love, they are made for important rites of passage, from boys' haircutting celebrations to weddings and funerals.

    Of the different types of Cook Islands tivaevae, perhaps the most common is the tivaevae manu or appliqué quilt. Unadorned by the embroidery added in the tivaevae tātaura style, yet visually striking, tivaevae manu rely solely on the design of the maker’s selected motif and their bold creative colour combinations.

    Tivaevae motifs are most often the tropical and introduced flowers and plants of the Cook Islands, like gardenia, hibiscus, orchids and chrysanthemums and, as here, lilies. What is important is that the artist chooses a favourite bloom from which to make their own original design, to tell their story.

    Tivaevae are traditionally made of vividly hued casement cloth or cotton broadcloth, with many women in Sydney still sourcing their fabrics from Auckland or the Cook Islands.

    This striking example of a tivaevae manu was gifted to its previous owner, a member of the Sydney Cook Islands community, on the occasion of her wedding. It was sewn in Sydney on receipt of the wedding invitation, the maker working 4-5 hours per day over a period of about 10 weeks from February to April 1993, to complete it in time to present it with love and respect to the new couple.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Matisse Alive, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 11 Oct 2021–03 Apr 2022

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