Tales of Te Papa resource masthead


Stories Sewn in Quilts

Episode:81Te Papa Collection:Pacific Cultures

Suggested curriculum levels:2 – 6

Curriculum connections:English: Listening, Reading, and Viewing, The Arts: Understanding the Arts in Context, Social Sciences: Identity, Culture, and Organisation

Description:Tivaevae play an important role in the narrative tradition of Pacific culture – take a look at two of these beautiful quilts in Te Papa's collection.

Questions for students

  1. Explain how the distinctive tivaevae of the Cook Islands came about. What features of tivaevae make it different from other 'patchwork' styles?
  2. Research the distinctive stitched works of other cultures, for example, American patchwork quilts, mola sewing of Panama and appliqué of the Hmong people of Thailand. Identify two or three key questions about the purpose, origin and style of those works. Use the 'Key questions' response template to record your questions and the information sources you've used. Make notes from each source that will help you write about the comparisons you've made.
  3. When does an item with a practical, domestic use become an art work? What factors, if any, distinguish art works from everyday items?
  4. A single tivaevae will often be made by a group of women. What would be the benefits and disadvantages of working together on a project like this? Have you ever collaborated to make a work? Discuss this concept with others.
  5. Two of the quilts shown in the Tale were commissioned works. What does this mean? What is the role of commissioning in keeping an art or craft form alive?

Related links:

Related templates:

Key questions