About the Artist
Letila Mitchell is a Rotuman artist and the director of Rako, an arts collective based in Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. The collective includes more than 20 dancers, musicians and fashion and textile designers. Rako means a place of learning in the Rotuman language. Rotuma is a volcanic island approximately 600km north of Fiji.
Patterns of the Ocean, Land and Sky
RakoDesigns clothing is printed with different patterns that are often inspired by the natural environment, including plants, animals, the ocean and the sky.
In this interactive, you can learn about some of these patterns before designing your own digital outfit.
The lągi patterns are inspired by the sky. Look carefully and you might be able to see the sun, moon, wind and rain in these designs.
Täväke (Sea bird)
The Täväke is a white seabird with a slender body, long wings and two elongated tail feathers that double its body length. The Täväke patterns are inspired by the tracks the bird leaves as it walks across the sand and the beautiful shape it makes when it flies high in the sky.
Sasi means ocean in Rotuman, and these patterns are inspired by the different swirls and shapes made by waves crashing on the beach. The glow of the sun setting over the water, or the reflection of the moon, makes beautiful streaks of red, purple, gold and lots of other colours.
The hosa patterns are inspired by the many different flower species found in the Pacific. One of these is the flower of the frangipani tree. The most common variety of this flower is white with a yellow centre.
The sa'aga designs are inspired by the different patterns and banding found on the trunk of pandanus plants. Pandanus is the name given to around 600 different species of trees. The hata flower comes from a type of pandanus and is used to make the special garland called a tefui.
The epa patterns are inspired by the leaves of particular pandanus plants that are used for weaving. In Rotuma, weavers use three different types of epa to make floor mats and sleeping mats. Weaving remains an important part of the island’s culture.