Liana Leiataua is a Samoan Scottish woman born in Aotearoa New Zealand. Liana describes her work as a continuum, as 'Siapo Aotearoa', a hybrid of cultures combining into a new art form. Liana’s Siapo construction comes from the village of Leone, Tutuila, American Samoa, where she learned the Siapo style of Mary Pritchard and the Siapo makers of Leone. Liana studied printmaking under Anne Philbin and Michel Tuffery, and carving under Steve Myer and Owen Mapp.
In her sustained effort to keep the tradition of Siapo alive and contemporary, Liana collaborates with schools, councils, and other artists, working with these groups to help them find a symbolic language that informs a holistic connection through time and the environment. The work seeks a pathway towards connecting spiritually and physically to the whakapapa of life.
Liana is an active member of the Samoan Porirua Community. She is a mother of four, an educator, and a community activator.
"Siapo, also known as tapa, is one of the oldest Samoan cultural art forms. For centuries Siapo has been passed from generation to generation. Even so, it has fast become a nearly extinct art form. Siapo is not only a decorative art, it is a symbol of Samoan culture. It uses include clothing, burial shrouds, bed covers, ceremonial garments, and much more. There are two forms of Siapo, Siapo 'Elei (The Rubbing Method) and Siapo Mamanu (The Freehand Method)."
Revelation, Hope Centre, Porirua, NZ
Liana’s projects include: Ka Mua Ka Muri 2019-2020 - a contribution to a group project (2019) to help Cannons Creek envision its future; Siapo project Linden (2019) - a collaborative project run by Ruth Robertson-Taylor and Liana Leaiataua with the students of Tawa Intermediate Arts Academy and teacher Linda Lewry, conceived by Denise Byarugaba of Wellington City Council - designed to establish the former Linden hall as a community hub; Waitangirua Oasis cafe mural (2018) - representing Tipi Mana Te Maunga and the hospitality of the great gardener Te Ukaipo of Maraeroa Maraee; Ferry Place Mural (2014) - a collaborative piece created with Jack Kirifi, Jules Kaui, Viliamu Leiataua-Finau, Bob Johnson, and Victoria Baird, representing the harbour and it formerly abundant kaimoana; Roller door (2016) - created as part of a group project celebrating migration of people of the Pacific to Porirua; Freedom House: Isaiah 61 (2007) - illustrating the foundation scripture of freedom house; Revelation, Hope Center - depicting the torn curtains of the Tabernacle at the crucifixion.
Siapo project Linden 2019