Friday, January 15, 2010

Sogai Miti

A merry morning to all! Today is my last weekday on Island. That really means very little besides the fact that tomorrow is Saturday, and Saturdays are notorious for barbecues and swimming, and barbecues and swimming are long as you wait 30 min before swimming of course.

I have been sitting in on tattoo sessions of a friend of mine, Oti. He is getting the full Samoan tattoo called a Sogai Miti (pronounced songuy miki). The process takes about a week and a half, with session usually taking around 4-5 hours each day. The process is absolutely grueling for everyone involved. The Tattooist, in this case Wilson, has to concentrate and be extremely precise for hours on end. The boys stretching the skin must stay, still, attentive and alert for hours. And for the person receiving the tattoo... well that form of pain is understood by very few people on this planet.

But! endurance through pain yields eternal beauty, in this case at least. On the middle of the back, the top most motif is a canoe, showing the man's place as a vessel to carry his family forward. Below that is an upside down triangle thingy; that is a mother fruit bat wrapping it's wings around him and protecting him. The lines below that reinforce family obligations and kinship responsibilities.

In the next few days Wilson will start on the legs, that'll be a lot of fun to watch.

Wilson, Otaro, Saya and Oti all submerged in a world of pain

1 comment:

  1. Danny, reading your blog has really piqued my interest in Samoa. I was telling your Grandmother that they had an interesting news bit on TV the other day about the number of football players the U.S. gets from Samoa and the rudimentery conditions under which they train during their school years. An interesting contrast, I thought, to what we see through your view of the territory's history. Is territory the proper designation?