He picks up the bone chisel and taps out a rhythm that matches the beat of her racing heart. Black ink begins to flow in straight lines as the tattooist taps centuries old patterns on her smooth brown thighs. Her hand is held by her mother who sings Samoan melodies, while her sister wipes her flushed brow.
The malu is the Samoan female tattoo unique to Samoa. It is a living art form traditionally given to the daughters of the high chiefs. Today, the malu is still regarded as a sacred Samoan treasure. It is the spiritual connection of a Samoan woman to her ancestors, her motherland and her traditions; the malu is gifted and received in loto alofa. The Misiluki packaging is inspired by my personal journey as a Samoan woman who wears the malu with pride. The ancient and intricate symbols are a constant reminder to me of the power of the malu to shelter and protect. It is the embodiment of strength and femininity.