The Whale Hunt: folk art painting on early 1700's tavern table top 


Welcome to Mata'u Art  

We hope that you will enjoy our site. Here you will find  unique art work that is in every sense "a piece of Nantucket"

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Around the 19th century, Nantucket whalers sailed the Pacific in search of the elusive Sperm whale. Many Nantucket ships recruited natives from the Pacific islands including my homeland of Samoa. Nantucketer’s, in time’s past, referred to these island people groups as ‘the Kanakas’ or in Samoan, “Tagatas” which means, “peoples”. 

Coincidentally, I married a descendant of the Starbuck family, who made a prosperous living from the whales’ coveted spermaceti oil. After making Nantucket our year-round home and being re-united with our whaling heritage, I am creating unique pieces of art working with hand-picked stones naturally fashioned from the beautiful shores of Nantucket Island. As my Samoan whaler ancestors worked on the ships along side the Nantucketers in hopes of bringing in the mighty giant of the sea, I desire to bring the beautiful creature to life while preserving a part of Nantucket’s historical fiber. 

Trina Mata’u Ragan

© Trina Mata'u Ragan 2012