From “Fa'afafines,” (the third gender of Samoa) living in housing projects to teen fathers raising their children, Jean Melesaine’s photographs tells the stories of Pacific Islanders in urban California diasporas. For many of the younger generation in the United States, the complexity of multiple identities is etched in to their skin. For instance, on a drunken night in a garage, a young Samoan man gets the traditional “tatau” (tattoo) symbols of “ancestors” without knowing the symbol’s meaning, his “Blood Killer” tattoo for the Crip gang he belongs to, and the words “Sa'moa,” meaning sacred center, share the same map on his body.
Research Article| March 01 2015
California Islanders: Portraits
Boom (2015) 5 (1): 38–47.
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Jean Melesaine; California Islanders: Portraits. Boom 1 March 2015; 5 (1): 38–47. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2015.5.1.38
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