Fale-ship: Etanah Falagā Talapā


Glossy, jewel-toned forms digitally collaged into 3D compositions. Etanah’s work speaks to her background in Spatial Design, bringing in elements of her Samoan culture to create a unique and exciting visual language. Etanah’s Fale-ship Residency celebrates her homes of Te Awakairangi-i-Tai, Te-Whanganui-a-Tara and Samoa through a multidisciplinary approach.  

“I am Etanah Falagā Talapā. Born in Te Awakairangi-i-Tai, Te-Whanganui-a-Tara, 1995. I’m a multidisciplinary artist who is of Afega and Sa’anapu heritage from Samoa. My Fale-ship Residency took place in my home at Petone.  

My creative practice operates at the intersections of public installations, digital art, photography and mixed-media. I graduated with a Bachelor of Design in Spatial Design from Massey University in 2018. Since then, I moved to Tauranga as an intern at Tauranga Art Gallery supported by Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust. I later returned home as an artist mentor in a youth-led programme at Taita and Naenae Clubhouse for three years. Most recently, I’m embarking on a new journey as a curator – exhibitions and public programmes at Enjoy Art Gallery, Poneke (Wellington City.)”

Aiga (2021)

Smooth abstract forms, floating in the lavendar vā, Etanah presents her final collection of 3D digitally rendered illustrations called ‘Aiga’ – each resembling the natural forms of mountains, islands and water. Looking deeper into both her magical home of Te Awakairangi (Hutt Valley) and her homeland of Samoa, Etanah explores the idea of place and the untapped knowledge that the fanua holds.  

“If I were to describe my work it would be healing. My research has a lot to do with discovering my gagana Samoa, learning histories about my culture from my people, elders and unlearning the geography textbooks from my education upbringings.”

Etanah Falagā Talapā

Check out Etanah’s highlight video as she reflects on her Tautai Fale-ship Residency!  

Leaning into lockdown conditions and being grounded in her hometown of Petone, Etanah used her Fale-ship as a time to re-discover herself, explore her creativity, and learn more about the genealogy of her fanua in Samoa and the whakapapa of the land she calls home, Te Awakairangi.  

“I enjoyed the freedom to be. The freedom to create my own fun and learning. There were challenges along the way, lagging computer programmes, the limbo feeling of the pandemic alter levels, but overall, this residency carved out time in my non-existent routine to play, explore and bask in the name of being a Samoan from the Moana.”  

– Etanah Falagā Talapā 

Video by NoSix


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