Manamea Art Studio on the move

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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LIVING THE DREAM: Lalovai Peseta and Nikki Mariner Peseta with their team of Artists in front of their new premises.

LIVING THE DREAM: Lalovai Peseta and Nikki Mariner Peseta with their team of Artists in front of their new premises.

Making art more visible and accessible to the public is something artists, Nikki Mariner- Peseta and Lalovai Peseta want to achieve in Samoa. 

Their joint venture Manamea Art Studio has moved to bigger premises with roadside view in Vaigaga, which has the potential to help them realise that vision.

Previously based in Vaitele-uta, their premises there was not conducive to the increasing demand for Manamea Art work and according to Nikki they had to turn away orders because they simply could not accommodate.  

In addition, it was not always practical for their clients to find the studio. Even with sufficient directions – customers still found it difficult to locate them. 

“We outgrew our home studio in Vaitele so quickly,” said Nikki. 

“We were turning away orders because we didn’t have the manpower to keep up. We couldn’t hire more artists because we didn’t have enough working space for anyone else.”

Today the art outfit is located in spacious premises with roadside visibility in Vaigaga that will be able to cater to the many possibilities that Lalovai and Nikki see for Manamea Art. 

“When we were approached at the end of 2017 to be potential tenants for this prime location in Vaigaga with lots of space, it really felt like a divine intervention arriving at the perfect time,” said Nikki.

“We have a big space for workshops and art classes in the future.” 

Lalovai Peseta and his manamea’s painting.
Lalovai Peseta and his manamea’s painting.

Added former art teacher Lalovai, “We really want to help the community with art; this is the place for it. We are not just a business. We are artists that care and we want to support and inspire the young generation of Samoa. We want to push art out there in Samoa. Its really hard here. People want cheap stuff. Growing up as an artist, we always took what we could get but now fully understand how valuable art is. We are always looking for work. Every day we have our art to do.”

Life partners in love, art and business, Lalovai and Nikki  have always been independent in growing their business with the help of family without turning to loans or grants. 

Finding themselves in the perfect premises, they are on the edge of achieving their goals. While the new location is perfect, renovations are in order to get the studio up to scratch to meet their goals and Nikki has come up with a fundraising concept with a twist that is as original as the pair of contemporary artists. The artists set up a ‘gofundme’ page hoping that lovers of art as well as their fans will support their cause,

“We got to this point because of hard work and sacrifice and the support and patronage of the public who appreciated our art. Now we find ourselves on the brink of achieving goals we set years ago. So when we needed funds to grow our new premises into the art space of our dreams, it made sense to ask for help from people who know us and believe in our vision, we want to go direct to our followers with no middle man”

Staying true to the streak of independence that has been a hallmark of their business style Nikki said “we are not asking for a handout. We have this idea that donations could be transformed into what is essentially a down payment on future artwork from us. SO if someone donates $20 towards our ‘Makeover Manamea’ fundraising, they will get $20 off a carving, tattoo or painting in the future.”

First on their list of must have for their new studio is signage – in their own unique style of course, 

“We want to paint murals outside.” Said Lalovai “We want to be eye catching because we don’t have a sign on the road yet so we want to use the body of the building as a sign post and at the same time express what it is that we do in here and in our style. The mural will reflect our flow – the Manamea art style of using samoa art symbols. Our particular style is to try and tell the story of how tattoo arrived in Samoa.”

In addition to the signage, the Art studio also needs to build a fence around the property for the safety of their employees, dogs and for the protection of their art works. If you would like to donate to their cause on gofundme.com, search “makeover Manamea art studio.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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