FALE-SHIP: Chris Van Doren

Fale-Ship | Chris Van Doren

Fakaalofa atu! Introducing distinguished sculptor Chris Van Doren.

Niuean / Sāmoan / Dutch | Alofi North
North Shore – Auckland, Aotearoa
IG: @chris.van.doren.artist

Chris’s works have evolved over the years and still retain the essence of the vaka, the land and sea with flow movement, lines and form. Growing up in Aotearoa also influenced his practice, such as the beaches, landscapes, beautiful sunsets and memories of swimming in the Moana.

Tamaki Makaurau based artist Chris Van Doren has taken part in numerous exhibitions and symposiums across Asia-Pacific and has been a three-time finalist in Aotearoa’s World of Wearable Arts. Chris is currently a resident artist at Corban’s Estate Arts Centre, he uses methods and skills he developed in his background as a panel beater to work with unconventional materials when creating his sculptures.


Chris gives us a behind the scenes look into where he draws inspiration for his large scale sculptures. From sketches to miniature sculptures, we get an exciting glimpse into his creative process and workspace.

Chris shares motion images from his workshop of his progress on the Niuean katoua he has been carving. We get insight into the tools and techniques he uses when sculpting.


“I feel my creative process stems from when I made a workspace under our family house in Waiuku when I was a young man. I created things like huts in the forest, from material sources found in the neighborhood, like bits of wood and steel from empty houses and other things I could find..”

– Chris Van Doren

Chris shares a montage his concepts, ranging from previous works to his works in progress. Here he highlights his techniques and methods he employs to achieve a smooth and effortless finish to all his sculptures!


Final Works

Titled “FIRE” this video focuses on the process of making a traditional Niuean Katoua club. He began sculpting the Katoua in the first lockdown and was able to take the time during his Fale-Ship to complete it. Watch Chris make this incredible and rare piece of Niuean taonga here!


This video features many Chris’ large and small scale works he has created over the years. Chris communicates his deep knowledge and skill for sculpting traditional art forms. Here we see a number of his works in progress come to life.


Rosanna and Chris talk about his unique source of inspiration during this Q+A Talanoa!


Q+A Talanoa facilitated by:
Rosanna Raymond | @rosannaraymond | Sistar S’pacific
Cult.VA.tor, FAB.ricator, Acti.VA.tor
NZ Born Samoan/Palagi
Falefa/Tāmaki Makaurau
West Auckland, Aotearoa

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