Sāmoan spatial multi-disciplinary artist based in Wellington, Aotearoa
Postcards Unlocked #5
My art practice and inspiration behind “Stay Still”
My work operates at the intersections of public installations, digital design, photography and mixed-media. I have a love for understanding people and the environments they inhabit, especially our own Pasifika people. It sparked from my love of travelling around the world since the age of 18. If it wasn’t for my family pushing me to travel so young, I wouldn’t have the same curiosity and patience to try and understand my Samoan culture and identity today.
I’m now 25. A few years ago I asked myself, “How do I design for a community if I don’t really understand its people?” In a search for answers, most of my early 20’s has been about cultural and history research, networking, engagements with different Pasifika communities and exploring different mediums to express myself along the way.
I started with paint and sketches. Now I mainly use digital mediums as an output and use paint and sketches early on during the method. Overall this journey has been a roller coaster! It’s taken me from the most uncomfortable of spaces to the most rewarding and enriching life experiences yet. After graduation in 2018, Tautai gave me an opportunity to intern at Tauranga Art Gallery. Since then I’ve returned home to the Hutt Valley continuing to upskill in my art practice and mentoring as a designer for rangatahi at Taita Clubhouse. It’s a beautiful phase I’m in right now being back in my community – but now just a little bit wiser.
This new work, “Stay Still” is inspired by my family, my home, my bubble during the Covid-19 lockdown in the Hutt Valley. It’s acknowledging the roller coaster of emotions – uncertainty, weirdness and pain we’ve had to navigate in only a matter of days/weeks.
The pastel colours and jagged compositions all aim to depict a surreal time we feel we are in right now. But at the same time it’s acknowledging the power of peace we as a family are choosing to sit in everyday. What I find myself asking everyday now that I hope others can ask themselves too is, “what new rituals am I allowing to feed me mentally, physically and spiritually during this time of stillness and how can this prepare me/we when isolation is all over?”