Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka

Fala Tangata

Fala Tangata by Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka

Artwork Detail

Fala Tangata translates to mean ‘mat of the people’. Stone Maka’s Fala Tangata 2007 refers to a historical moment in the 1850s when men lay on the ground as a fala (mat) for the Tāufa‘āhau I (King of Tonga) to walk on so that his royal feet would not touch the ground. This ultimate display of patriotism and devotion to Tongan cultural values illustrates Her Royal Highness Queen Salote III’s prophetic statement, ‘our history is written, not in books, but in our mats’. Fala Tangata utilises a loose grid structure to incorporate kupesi (motifs) and text that both draw and push beyond the idiom of Tongan ngatu. Maka harnesses faka‘ahu (smoke) to stain the tapa with earthy tones, red and brown fields of colour, made from natural

pigments from Pātangata and the island of ‘Eua in the Kingdom of Tonga. References to the monarchy can be seen in the centre of the work through a series of kupesi commonly found on ngatu including the Sila ‘o Tonga (Tongan coat of arms) and crowns with garlands which are visual metaphors for the judicial authority of the chief in the time before the kingdom.

Fala Tangata
Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka
Production date
oiil, red clay of ‘Eua, dye from Pātangata on tapa
2105 x 3690 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2021
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
International Art
Display status
Not on display

To find out which artworks are available for print requests and reproduction please enquire here. This service only applies to select artworks in the Gallery's collection.