In 2006 The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) commissioned Polynesian artist Rosanna Raymond to make a modern garment showing contemporary use of tapa to demonstrate identity and an ideal of beauty.
The various patches are a celebration of tapa cloth making; a traditional women’s craft that continues to survive in a rapidly changing world. The design also highlights the artists’ afikasi background. Rosanna considers herself a half-caste- she was born in New Zealand but grew up in Samoa.
Rosanna named the trousers Genealogy as they highlight the importance of kinship and show the continuing vibrancy of Polynesian culture. They were handed-over to RAMM’s curator during the ‘Tusks and Fever’ event at the Pacific Playhouse, Southwark, London, on 4 June 2007. Genealogy was presented by the performers, initially hidden by a large woven mat, before being placed upon the floor to be formally ‘farewelled‘.
Since their creation, these trousers have been exhibited at a number of local schools as part of the Small World project and museum exhibitions such as Token Values in 2009, which was held at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey.
From 2011, they will feature in RAMM’s permanent World Cultures gallery.