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London’s first tapa made by and for diaspora here in the UK

Tapa or Kapa cloth comes from the Pacific. It is made from the bark of a mulberry tree, pounded by wooden beaters that is then stretched and manipulated over and over again till it becomes cloth or paper like. It is then printed on using a variety of different methods depending on where the piece comes from. Each Tapa cloth is significant to where it has been made, every Island have their own name for it and they are identifiable by their patterns and usage of ink. In Samoa our Tapa is called siapo. Tapa is used in ceremonies such as weddings, funerals and performance. Tapa was also used as cultural currency. Upon contact with europeans , tapa has been gifted, exchanged and in some cases stolen and used out of context of pacific culture. Whole communities sometimes get together to produce a single piece, whether it be for an upcoming event or just for the love and pride of practising traditional art.

During the week of Dec 9th-13th 2019, VFDalston will be holding a 5 day event organised by Momoe Tasker, welcoming diaspora communities to take part and make their mark!

The days will be split between different community groups and charities some of which will be the workshop travelling to those spaces to facilitate their specific needs. It will be an inclusive and free event highlighting the different positive and negative experiences of people living in a foreign land, many to whom living in London means living in the land of their colonisers. The idea is for people to come in talk about what image or words they would like to work with and create then carve their own block from lino or potato, ready to be printed onto the cloth. Living in a different country and climate can be challenging for many. It can have positive effects on individuals and their families as well as having negative impacts of loneliness, isolation and fear amongst others. The hope is that with this piece it may build relationships and conversations between people who previously thought they had nothing in common, now having participated and reaching out they have something in common with everyone involved.

We are all connected by the Tapa.

The following week our Tapa will be displayed in the gallery window of vfd in dalston as a piece of art for the whole community to engage with. It will be a chance for those involved to see the piece completed, and to share it with others. The Tapa will then be gifted to the community, hopefully being used in demonstrations of activism and community pride. We are going to be working with Project Indigo; a lgbtqi+ bame group, Open Doors, supporting women working and living on the streets of Hackney, In*ter*is*land Collective; Londons first Pacific Island collective and local schools. During the event week there will be an opportunity for people to donate money to a local charity closely connected to the venue and within the context of the event. Friday 13th will be Pasifika day. You and yours are MOST welcome and invited to come and share space with us. Please share this event with anyone that might benefit from it or interested in getting involved. For further information you can contact Momoe directly at

This is for you. It will be great.

Words and images: Momoe Tasker

Video: Ashleigh Fata


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