Fate learnt this design from her mother Majaho, a Dahorurajé clanwoman from the old Dahorurajé clan village, Sidonejo, which was situated close to Savodobehi village and the sacred Mount Obo — the home of the first people, Mina & Suja).
The conjoined concentric circles are vinöhu’e, the design of the bellybutton. This circular design was tattooed around men’s navels during the Ujawé initiation rite, which were performed in underground chambers known as guai. The vinohu’e tatto design is sometimes also called siha’e, a design which represents the fruit of the Sihe tree. Sihe is a yellow fruit found in the rainforest and often eaten by cassowaries. In the time of the ancestors during times of tribal warfare, the Ömie male warriors had no food while they were defending their borders in the forest far from their villages so they survived by chewing the sihe fruit, swallowing the juice and then they would spit out the pulp. And so the vinohu’e design is a powerful symbol for male warriors’ strength and endurance.
The squares are bisected by a design known as jö’o sor’e, uncurling fern fronds, which was traditionally tattooed on both sides of Ömie women’s cheeks/mouths for initiation. The zig-zag designs are taigu taigu’e, an important ancestral Ömie tattoo design believed to have originally been inspired by the pattern on a leaf.
The border and lines that run through the works forming frames are known as orriseegé or ‘pathways’.
Fate also commented about this painting, “These tattoo designs began in the time of our ancestors. They have been passed down from our ancestors to my grandmother, to my mother and then to me. If I do not paint this design, who is going to hold this after I pass away? I am painting so my children and grandchildren learn, they will see and remember me and my designs. That is why I paint my tattoos on the barkcloth.” - Recorded on 5th April 2014, translated from Ömie to English by Raphael Bujava.