531 PI
Niu FM
PMN News
Cora Allan-Wickliffe  wants to normalise hiapo within the younger generation and “not just for  ceremonies”.

Cora Allan-Wickliffe wants to normalise hiapo within the younger generation and “not just for ceremonies”.

Photo/Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust

Language & Culture

Hip hiapo: Ancient Niuean artform given modern twist

Artist Cora Alan-Wickliffe wants to see traditional artform used on everyday objects.

The ancient Niuean artform hiapo is taking on a contemporary look in an exhibition from a local artist.

The Tautai Gallery exhibition Grasping the Horizon is by the Niuean artist Cora Alan-Wickliffe.

Hiapo is made up of freehand drawn motifs and has been traditionally used on barkcloth for decoration.

Alan-Wickliffe joined the PMN Niue show to discuss how the exhibition showcases a new take on the ancient Niuean art form.

She told the host Lolokini Lynn Pavihi it shows that hiapo can be also celebrated in contemporary forms rather than the traditional use of tapa (barkcloth) and decoration.

“I’ve created my own library of patterns that share my stories in my journey with hiapo… everyone's got cool bucket hats on.”


She says “part of the show is using objects that are relevant.”

Drawn to the contemporary style of hiapo, it is Alan-Wickliffe’s first time drawing her own patterns.

Having the hiapo patterns on bucket hats and shoes could be a way to encourage the younger generation to embrace this part of the culture, she said.

“If they can’t wear them with traditional garments, why not wear them in a way, even like my hat, with objects that we like to show off.”

She wanted to normalise the art form within the younger generation and “not just for ceremonies.”

Through her exhibition, she is hoping to give away some of the pieces to the community.

“I have a bunch in the show and I will do a raffle for the shoes… I want the works to be gifted in that kind of sense. I don't want them to be sold as artwork. I want them to be a part of our community."

The colours in the exhibition pay homage to her nan who was “very proud of Pacific people being bright and being like flowers in her garden”.

It gives an opportunity to show “the brightness of her people”.

The exhibition is open at the Tautai Gallery until February next year.

pijf logo