(Tahitipresse) - 11/7/2008- Vetea Rata, 35, a Tahitian with a reputation for creating realistic works of tattooing art, has won the first international prize at the 4th "Tatau i Tahiti", or international Tattoonesia Convention being held in Tahiti.
Rata's winning design was a Japanese geisha woman that covers the right
thigh down to the knee of the young Polynesian who wears it. Rata
needed 5.5 hours of work to create his masterpiece for Brian, who said
later, "tonight I will take pills to calm the pain and allow me to
"We are awarding prizes for new, inventive creations, those that are
works in their own rights," said Huuti, chairman of this year's jury,
which is made up exclusively of professional Polynesian tattooers.
The Tattoonesia 2008 continues through Sunday at the Aorai Tini Hau
Hall in Tahiti's north coast Commune of Pirae. French Polynesia Culture
Minister Joseph Kaiha opened the convention Wednesday afternoon for
some 40 tattooers from French Polynesia, Guam, New Zealand, Hawaii,
Easter Island and Europe.
"I don't have a particular style," said tattooist Rata. For his winning
creation, he mixed Polynesian designs with Western or Asian
representations. He confided that he charges some 100,000 French
Pacific francs (US$1,099/€838) for such a piece of work.
"Throughout the duration of the festival I will practice lower prices,"
said Rata, who is known for his tattooing designs that can cost some
300,000 French Pacific francs (US$3,297/€2,514).
Sixty tattoo stands have been built as part of a Polynesian village for
this year's Tattoonesia Convention. This allows many visitors to the
stands to leave the event with their own tattoo.
During the convention, the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands is exhibiting the history of Polynesian tattooing.
Last year there were 4,500 visitors this year, including 200 tourists
who came to Tahiti for the Tattoonesia, which had as its theme
"Tattooing for Women". The organizers reported that Tattoonesia 2007
was three times bigger than 2006, earning an estimated 70 million
French Pacific francs (US$769,230/€586,599).
The first such international event was held on Tahiti's sister island
of Moorea in 2005 and the 2006 event was held in Tahiti's airport
Commune of Faa'a.
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