Afatasi The Artist, a native of San Francisco, California, is a multi-interdisciplinary artist, designer, textile artist, writer, singer-songwriter, performer, and educator. She received her A.A. in Liberal Arts from City College of San Francisco, and a B.A. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Creative Arts from San Francisco State University.
Her mother, was a native of the Independent State of Samoa (Western Samoa). Her father, a Black American, grew up during the Jim Crow era in Memphis, Tennessee. Because of her unique ethnic background, Afatasi had an early interest in exploring her own identity, what that identity means to her, and how this identity relates to the country, and the greater world around her. She self identifies as, Afro-Polynesian, and most of her creative works reflect just that.
Afatasi was always a creative child, and as an adult, she brought her creativity wherever she went; as a college student, you could catch her receiving A's in science class for creative projects, and while a bartender, she always created specialty drinks menus for various restaurants. Growing up a black girl in a Samoan household, Afatasi and her siblings were exposed to music, song, and dance, as is standard practice for many Polynesian children. She is versed in many traditional Samoan music material but Afatasi began expanding her repertoire by performing & writing contemporary music with the use of her ukulele, an instrument her mother helped teach her to play. Her originality emerged after doing music apprenticeships by joining various bands, and Hip Hop collectives around the Bay Area. In time she began forging her own music, so various experimentations led to the creation of her own sound she calls 'Afro-Poly Neo Soul Music'.
As an arts educator, Afatasi completely spearheaded a children's contingent for almost a decade, in the San Francisco Carnaval Grande Parade held in the Mission District. This group consisted of 50-80, K-5 students from a local SF elementary school; Afatasi created and designed, the parade float, the children's costumes, the music, the choreography, and organized the entire event so that students and families were not just exposed to local cultural events, but took part of the biggest parade in San Francisco. Afatasi also participated in this event as a child, so as an arts educator, it was important for her to introduce and pass on the legacy of the Carnaval Grande Parade to the next generation of native San Franciscans. Ever the CARNAVALISTA, Afatasi has participated in various Carnivals throughout the world; whether it be in Havana, Salvador de Bahia, London, or New Orleans, Afatasi creates fun costumes and festive outfits, to express her cultural creativity.
Afatasi sewed her first garment for her mother, and the rest was history! She is completely self-taught (and YouTube taught lol), and began making both custom garments and costumes, as well as custom textiles and hand made fabrics. In February 2020, Afatasi debuted a 12-piece, Afro-Polynesian inspired street wear collection in London, to an ecstatic European audience. Not only were they struck by the vivid colors and reimagined designs, but they were also delighted by the song, "International", by B-Legit and Too Short, a Bay Area classic, blaring through the speakers as the models paraded her beautiful clothing.
Her love of sewing evolved into fine art tapestry creation, which she calls the (TAPA)stry, which is a combination of the words, 'TAPA', and 'TAPESTRY'. Tapa is an indigenous Polynesian bark cloth that is made from the bark of the mulberry tree, and is a women's art form from Polynesia. In Samoa, this bark cloth fabric is called Siapo. An Afatasi (TAPA)stry, is the combination of both tapa, and a wide range of textiles from the African diaspora; Afatasi hand selects these textiles on her international travels. These textiles are then sewn together to create beautifully colored, and meaningful abstract tapestries that speak to Afatasi's San Francisco upbringing, identity, intersectionality, and commentary on social issues. Her first (TAPA)stry was created in 2018, and her fine art debut, launched in San Francisco as part of the MFA Never exhibition at the Root Division Gallery, continuing on to Oakland, California, as part of a larger showing of her beautiful (TAPA)stries. As apart of her ever growing art aesthetic, Afatasi created garments made of the same fabric as her (TAPA)stries; she wears them whenever her art is being showcased. She has since been selected to participate in various global online galleries due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, as her creativity has continued to evolve.
Afatasi is currently developing her new micro-brand of unique loungewear, called, "FaTasiLima", which translates into "415" in her native Samoan language, and is the area code for San Francisco. She has created and developed her own line of Afro-centric postcards, and has created unique prints of her fine art (TAPA)stries. Stay tuned for more of her creations, and don't forget to SUPPORT YOUR FAVORITE AFRO-POLYNESIAN ARTIST!!!
Music is my life, fashion is my calling, Fine Art is my home. - Afatasi