The legacy left behind by our Cook Islands Grandmothers is evidenced in the beautiful and intricately embroidered Tivaevae (bedspreads) they bequeath to their daughters.
Taught to the local women by the wives of the Missionaries in the late 1800’s, this art has been developed into a spectacular tapestry of colour, shape and floral design.
Creating Tivaevae continues to be a community centred activity, with women designing and sewing their bedspreads. The women eat together, sing and talk about themselves, their families and the community. At funerals Tivaevae are often used to cover the bed when the body is brought home prior to burial. A woven pandanus mat or Tivaevae sometimes lines the grave or casket, or the Tivaevae may be draped over the casket and buried with the family member.
Tivaevae making is an important tradition in the Cook Islands. The wonderful Tivaevae exhibition, curated by two of our lovely Grandmothers, is a testimony to the love and dedication they have for our culture and family values.
Taorei is the name given to this particular display. It is the most complicated process of quilting. Bright pieces of material are torn into long strips, then cut into tiny squares, counted and colour co-ordinated. They are then hand sewn together into decorative patterns.
Revered Tivaevae Ta'unga (artisans) Tungane Broadbent and Vereara Maeva Taripo have created a charming showcase set in the Beachcomber Contemporary Art (BCA) Gallery. Colourful bedspreads, embroidered cushions and pillowslips are displayed on old-fashioned iron bedsteads, and cane chairs, to reflect a drawing room and a bedroom of days gone by.
The exhibition is open until the end of December.