Monday, December 1, 2014

Tattoo Mini Project

This is a task that we were given by Mrs Tele'a. We had to create two tattoos. One that was cultural and one that had elements that represented you. Here is a presentation that includes my tattoos. They each have an explanation so you can understand the meaning behind them.

If the presentation isn't working for you, I have put the explanations here too. By the way, there is a LOT of writing.

My first tattoo is called the Fata ‘o Tu’i Tonga. It is a portrayal of the central beam in the King’s house. More specifically, of the sennit bindings that hold the central beam, which supports the thatched roof. So why did I choose this particular Tongan pattern as one of my two tattoos?

The Fata ‘o Tu’i Tonga symbolizes unity, strength and coming together. This was exactly the reason why I chose it. I thought it reminded me of family - distinctly, my family -. When I saw the Fata ‘o Tu’i Tonga and it’s the meaning behind it, it reminded me of all the times my extended family has given my parents and I a helping hand. It’s a pretty significant design since one of the many things I value is family.

In this slide, I have included my own tattoo design that I created. It is based off of the things I value the most; Friendship, Trust and Animals. These are more of symbols than they are patterns and drawings.

As you can see, one of the symbols are in a different language. When translated, it means trust. You may be wondering what this language is. It is Kanji. Kanji is used in the modern Japanese writing system. So why would I include Kanji in my tattoo? Another thing that I value is culture and language. I thought instead of using the Tongan language, I would use a language that was foreign to me and that I was fascinated with. And that was Japanese.

Behind the friendship symbol is a pawprint. The main reason why I used a dog pawprint to represent animals was because I absolutely love dogs. Another reason why was because I recently lost a close family member. Sisa. He was my dog that I grew up with in Tonga. I had received him when I was aged one and at the time Sisa was just a pup. So we were really close since we LITERALLY grew up together. This symbol really did mean a lot to me. I actually hope one day I will get this tattoo.

I would say this tattoo is also apart of my own design. It shows my religion, family and culture.

The flower is supposed to be a franjapaini. It represents where I was born: Tonga. Popping up behind it is a koru. This represents New Zealand. Overall, this shows where I was born and where I am currently living.

The stick figures may look a little out of place but they symbolize my parents. I used the cliche gender colours blue and pink to identify them.

They are big part of my life and although they may have problems in their relationship, they’re still making an effort for me.

I think doing this task and all the research about tattoos and symbolism we did has really helped me understand symbolism and my culture. Everything has a meaning behind it. Whether, it’s the symbol on your school uniform, the tattoo your uncle has or that tick on your Nike shoes.

My friends and I have talked a lot about tattoos and what we were going to get etched on our bodies when we were older. The past seven weeks have really broadened my mind on tattoos. They are a form of art on people’s bodies, especially when they have meaning behind them. That’s when they become symbolic and can be a constant reminder for you.


  1. Malo Gloria. What a very thoughtful presentation. I commend you on the way that you have linked your learning from symbolism in art through to tattooing and what it means to people. You have written a wonderful conclusion that gives readers a very clear understanding on the learning, creating and sharing you have completed this term. Well done on being such a driven student this year. You have really worked hard to achieve all you have. I have no doubt that the future will get even brighter for you! Malo aupito Gloria.

  2. Love your tatoo design Gloria AND the clear explanations of the meanings behind each of your symbols. Love how you put us there too! Good work Gloria, we are so very proud of you! 'Ofa lahi atu