Art is a reflection of the heart.
It speaks volumes in the midst of silence and Leua Latai, a senior lecturer of Visual Arts at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) knows this well.
At the Niule’a Exhibition at the Centre of the Samoan Studies in Le Papaigalagala (N.U.S), artists rely on their paintbrush to be their mouthpiece.
Ms. Latai is certain that there is a career for anyone in visual arts and she is living proof of it.
There are 80 students in her class and they spent 14 weeks with her to discover and fully express their hidden talents in art.
“Art is self-expression, we are living in a culture that is different and these activities we do in class allow my students to express themselves, their beliefs and what is important to them.
“So in a way if you value their work, these students will feel important because their beliefs are being considered important.
“I think it is places like these in the National University of Samoa where we are able to develop and inspire creativity and also leadership,” said Leua.
There are five courses in Visual Arts under the Faculty of Education.
“These classes teach the movement of the paintbrush and knowledge of handicrafts and most importantly it provides refuge for the youth who undergo challenges in life. Art sets them apart and allows them to be free.
“It also contributes into building their confidence and that is being reflected in their work and the performances that they have done. Art is important here in Samoa. You can do a lot by being an artist.
“Some of my students here have problems but by them being here drawing, painting, creating costumes and using recycling materials to do their work is really good.
“There has been progress with the amount of work that has been done by the students. Also in this programme, we emphasise a lot on storytelling and teaching morals and ethics through stories,” she added.
Leua explained: “It is a course for students in Faculty of Education who are interested in pursuing a degree in arts, so some of them will probably become graphic designers.
“There’s so much work that’s been done by the students such as graphic designs. There’s been some work done by the Foundation students and Primary School teachers who are taking the courses.
“It is not just having fun but creativity in it. Sharing ideas is another that has been done through these courses.”
Colour used and paintings have their own meaning, she added.