Siapo vala, Samoa Ca 1920,
from the estate of Omer Lassonde,
- a well-known New Hampshire artist and member of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, most often recognized for his bright landscapes, still-lifes, and genre paintings. Tapa cloths were collected by Lassonde, time spent on the Samoan islands of Tutuilla, Apia, and Upolo in the 1930s, while studying Samoan art and culture. This trip was sponsored by the Governor of NH, and upon returning in 1935 he headed New Hampshire’s WPA art program. The Samoans called Lassonde, “The Painter of Dreams”. These textiles were stored inside a steamer trunk for over 70 years, the approximate age of each being between 70 and 100 years old.
This tapa is of a type that was used at that time as ceremonial presentations to title chiefs, cloths like this were also worn by orators 162cm x 195cm