Whatchamacallit 40: Siapo from (American) Samoa


The work above – siapo – comes from my visit to American Samoa (which I did while visiting Samoa) in April 2015, a stop on my eastward around the world vacation.

The paper is made of mulberry bark. I wish I could remember what it feels like because, in theory, this paper (in larger forms) can be used as clothing. However, this is a smaller example and it is now framed, protected from the elements in my apartment.

Other than the works by Kandinsky, this is the only heavily abstract work that I own – but I’m not sure the word “abstract” applies. I’m not an art historian/critic/expert – but I liked the look of this paper when I saw it in the market. It had the added bonuses of being rollable and fitting into my suitcase (two characteristics that every artist should consider when trying to sell their work to tourists).

I do have at least one more object from American Samoa – buried in my closet – but I do not see it regularly. It’s funny that this really just looks pretty to me and reminds me that I was there. I went there for two reasons: first, I want to visit all US Territories (two more to go); second, I wanted to get to the southern most possible point of inhabited USA, Steps Point.

My feelings about American Samoa remain mixed to this day: I would happily go back to Samoa, but American Samoa was just not as nice – at least the parts of it that I saw.

During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

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