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Art Exhibit with a Message of Healing

Teu Le Vā: Sharing and Nurturing Relational Space

An art exhibition currently on display at the Wailoa Art Center in Hilo. Running now through October 27, 2022.


This groundbreaking exhibit is the work of Sāmoan siapo maker/painter Regina “Reggie” Meredith Fitiao. Reggie hails from the Leone Village Pago Pago American Sāmoa. She is the daughter of the late HC ATUALEVAO Heinrich A. King Kong & Eleanor Pena Meredith. Reggie served as an art educator for 35 years at the American Sāmoa Community College and continues to teach part time.

This important, beautiful, and moving exhibit is not just about the art- which is gorgeous- it is also a representational journey towards healing from domestic violence and suffering. Rather than focus on just the violence and suffering, Reggie’s art incorporates images of Sāmoan ancestral practices of healing that are still in use today, such as using traditional mediums including lau ti and ago (olena).


A common motif in both the paintings and the siapo is the atualoa (centipede), which has many layers of meaning in Sāmoan culture. Here, Meredith uses it to signify pain and long suffering. Meredith believes that the significance and prevalence of the centipede as one of only fourteen common Sāmoan motifs provides evidence that her ancestors acknowledged pain and suffering as a part of being and existing.

Meredith sees the practice of making siapo as being reciprocally healing- she takes care of the u’a (mulberry) by keeping the patch cleaned, by pounding the bark, by making the dyes, and eventually by developing her pieces, and in turn, the u’a takes care of her by nurturing her spirit and creativity.



An opening reception was held on October 6, 2022, and a meeting and discussion with Meredith took place October 8, 2022. Local non-profit Grassroots Community Development Group members Trina Nahm-Mijo and Wailani Walker co-facilitated with Meredith an engaging Domestic Violence educational workshop session with fifteen local cadets in the Youth Challenge program on Saturday, October 15. A session for wahine youth is set for this coming Saturday, October 22.

Don’t miss this opportunity to visit a moving and socially important exhibit. For more information, please contact Trina Nahm-Mijo at: nahmmijo@hawaii.edu

or visit Reggie’s website at: www.faasaoaaarts.com

This event was made possible by the following co-sponsors: 

Oceania Hawaiˋi Network for the Arts (OHANA); American Sāmoa Alliance Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (ASAADVSV); Asia Pacific Institute for Gender Based Violence (APIGBV); Brigham Young University; Wailoa Art Center; Grassroots Community Development Group (GCDG); Zonta Club of Hilo; and Hawaiˋi Community College Humanities Department.

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