Generation X – The future of Samoa

Senior Thesis Art Exhibition, Faculty of Education, National University of Samoa

Our future lies with Generation X. It is where the majority of the world’s population lives and where innovation takes place. It is also where the majority of economic value is created. 

According to a report by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics in 2011 on Population and Housing census Samoa has a population of 187,000 of which 99% reside on the two main islands of Upolu and Savaii. 46% of the population are 18 years of age.

A recent report presented by the Ministry of Women stated that 16.4% of our young people are unemployed. 

Though we could make the existing more efficient, that’s not the answer. There is a need to dare to envision a new approach that combines creativity and allows for interaction between education and employment, between the aiga and public life, private space and community space, psychological, spiritual interaction and innovation that address social issues and concerns that our young people grapple with daily.

They now live with future daunting challenges which constitutes of persistent unemployment, climate change and resource exhaustion. How do we make our future young people strong, resilient and agile? What educational strategies successfully combine economic vitality, environmental sustainability, and social inclusiveness?

The Senior Thesis Art Exhibition Generation X: the Next Generation attempts at challenging  future young artists and educators that are the next generation as test sites for Samoa’s next economy.

It is the hope that this group of art educators capture the next future economy in times of radical uncertainty. This uncertainty is inspired by the awareness that old traditional arrangements no longer work in a fast pace world of new technologies bombarding our shores at a rapid pace. It requires ingenuity and innovativeness that makes clever uses of technology, closes boundaries, connect people and disciplines. 

The exhibition aimed to be a platform to generate and inspire creativity for young designers, art educators and artists with fresh ideas and imaginaries of what the twenty first century could be like in Samoa.

Designs that roll out new futures that present perspectives that generate meaningful employment in their use of natural and human capacity that provide a response to a growing social inequality. It discusses ideas, concrete and strategic interventions because only through collaboration in and amongst our young people will only lead to the fulfilment of the potential of our next generation. 

Curatorial Statement

Leua Latai

Senior Lecturer Visual Art 

“I have recently been inspired by Pablo Picasso’s painting “The Girl before a Mirror.”  In his painting Picasso paint’s a mirrored image of a girl on the left of the painting he paints a distorted darker version of the girl. Perhaps’ when we truly look into our own soul, we reflect that pain that burdens us that is not always on the surface.

What we allow everyone else to see is rarely a reflection of who we really are.  The superficial outer appearance can be used to mask a person’s true feelings. Because others’ cannot see beneath the surface, their only basis for judgement is what meets the eye. While you may be able to bury emotions deep within yourself, you can never avoid the truth when looking at your own reflection.  

My work contains fragments of myself each piece is created in an effort to unearth myself. My paintings explore the relationship between my journey and my environment. I paint to develop art works that both speak to me and others about the beauty of nature that exists within us. I want people to recognize that deep inside them is a beautiful soul that needs to be discovered, to have a sense of belonging and interaction with others.” 

Carolynn Krieg - Artist Statement. Senior Thesis Art Exhibition, National University of Samoa, 2016 

“Without the ability to conceptualize an idea, art would not exist. My work is a constant search for the best way to interpret the ideas that I have about myself and the world I live in.

I do not limit myself to one medium, style or concept. Inspiration and ideas change, knowledge changes. Each painting I create is simultaneous and an extension from my cultural heritage documented through Samoan legends and stories of the past.

Where I belong and where I come from are important and what I’ve learned as well as a preview of the future of where I’m heading to are a large part of my art making. Many of the traditional Samoan legends can be seen in my work and assemblages to name a few. I do not classify myself as a stencil or black and white artist as some might think from looking at my current work. 

I am a carver, a printmaker and a painter. I like the idea that form doesn’t necessarily need function, but I also like the idea that function has to work with form and form has to work with function. If someone stops for just a moment to view and reflect on a painting that I have created, then I have succeeded in my work. 

Jeremy Filo, Artist Statement Senior Thesis Art Exhibition National University of Samoa, 2016 Jeremy Filo is a Visual Art and Samoan Language & Culture teacher at Leifiifi College, currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Education Secondary Program at the Faculty of Education. 

Jeremy Filo

“Ua sausau fialele le manu nai Utufiu”

Acrylic on canvass, 2016 

20” x 20” x 2” 

Graham Ah Him 

“This painting is about having a second chance at life. It could be through an event of time or being reincarnated. If you were to ask yourself, if you had one chance at something, what will it be? 

People intend to have something to be rewritten that occurred within their very lives. They find their lives’ unsatisfied. It could be an event that occurred that made them have regrets or an event that made them wish they never wanted to be born.

Going back in time to stop something that shouldn’t occur in their life or anyone else’s is like an epidemic, crime, love shock or going back to save someone who is about to die. Tell yourself, how would you picture yourself if you were given this one opportunity. To only have one chance by taking hold of it or watch it wither away from your sight is not an easy thing to witness. 

My ideas come from people and I included, in things we have in common. People or I, have things we don’t want to happen in our lives’. For instance:

• Not wanting to be born into a cruel world

• Not wanting to be born into a cruel family

• Not wanting bad things to happen to us, or to those we care about

• Not wanting our trust, our feelings, our faith, our belief’s and our love to be betrayed by those who are closest to us

• And not wanting to born into this world that is colourless

I picture my second chance through a testament by running up a stairs made out of crystal light. To see if I deserve such a chance by running up a flight of stairs with all of my might, just to make it to the light before my time is up. If the time is up, the stairs will fall and I will lose that very opportunity to have my one and only chance. 

“Second Chance,” painting by Graham Ah Him, Senior Thesis Art Exhibition, National University of Samoa, 2016

“E iai le upu faasamoa e faapea,“E pala le maa, ae le pala le tala.” E mavae tiga, faigata ma mea na tutupu i le olaga, ae e le mafai ona galo i le mafaufau mea na vaaia. 

O le mata, o le faaailoga lea o le sulu e le matineia lona malamalama na sulugia ai mea na faaleagaina i le matou nuu. O le ata o loo i totonu o le ioimata, o le fale lea o le aiga o lou tama na faaleagaina ma solofa i lalo i le malosi o le galu. 

O le fale o loo toe fausia ai i luga o le faavae o le fale ua faaleagaina, o le faailoga lea o le toe fausia ma le toe faaleleia o mea na faaleagaina e le galulolo i le matou nuu i Saleaaumua, Aleipata. 

O le eseese o lanu o mata, o le faailoga lea o le fesuisuiai o le olaga i lea tausaga ma lea tausaga ae le mafai ona galo mea na vaaia e mata i le maea ai o le galulolo.” 

Ieremia Tuupo, 

Artist Statement Senior Thesis Art Exhibition, National University of Samoa, 2016

“I lau suesuega na ou maitauina ai le tele ma le anoanoai o ata ua tusia e tusiata eseesei foliga vaaia o Iesu i tusiata faapea ma le intaneti. O le fesili tele na tulai mai i lou mafaufau poo fea tonu ata ua tusia e atagia mai ai foliga moni o le Alii Faaola. Tatou te le mai iloa foi poo a foliga moni o Iesu. 

I le tuufaatasiga uma o nei ata ua ou taumafai e faaataata mai uiga ma foliga vaaia eseese ua tusiina e tusi ata e otooto mai ai ona foliga moni. O ata nei poo “portraits,” a Iesu ua ou faaaogaina ai ia le ituaiga tusiata e taua o le “realism.” E taua ia te au le tusia o foliga eseese o le Faaola ma fesiligia poo fea tonu foliga e tatou te filifilia e talia pe le talia...”  

Athen Ah Lam, Artist Statement Senior Thesis Art Exhibition, 2016, National University of Samoa. 

Athen Ah Lam poses in front of his “portraits of Jesus, drawn on paper with pencil.”

The colour of my soul is exactly as it is, on this very canvas. I believe that a soul takes on different shapes of all sorts of events that a person has taken on or memories that feed it in order for it to form colour?

I always wondered why our bodies emit heat. Is it because we are alive or is there something else that is inside of us that keeps us encaged in our bodies? The way I see it is that we have a soul because we are alive and that a soul takes on a shape of an egg that blazes into a flame. It grows with the memories we gain with each event that we encounter.

I also wondered whether we are alive because our souls are trapped within our bodies and only through death can we separate ourselves from our bodies. I find this very strange that when we are alive, bodies emit heat and when we are dead our bodies turn cold.

I painted a simple structure that surrounds the soul which is a body and in the centre the soul is encased in chains. The chains represent life and human consciousness and the soul is symbolized as fuel for the body. The human conscious tells us what is right or wrong, while emitting life force into our bodies. 

There are three categories of colour. There are the primary colours, secondary colours and neutral colours. I have always loved the opposite colour, but mostly neutral colours because I’m just a neutral kind of person, who remains in the middle of two sides. 

So therefore, I painted this based solely on my own soul and belief me; it’s not a pretty soul. Why? After year of spending in this miserable country of Samoa, I have come to hate this country and its people. 

I find the people of Samoa too proud of themselves when they havn’t made damn change in this country, they think they did but it’s still the same. The country itself is boring and messed up, it used to a flourishes country but not trash to my very sites.

People of Samoa imitate their action based on idiots and act as if they are in television in reality. My chains are about to break through rage, annoyance, but there are other reason for my chain to break, the very main reasons why.

But I won’t tell. My conscious can’t keep up with reasoning with me, and I’m losing my mind day after night. I am about give on living for the monster lives inside of me is nearly been set free. I don’t know what to do with myself, it’s frustrating to even want to live but I’m a coward to take my own life. I just need one more event that strong and hard emotion, something terrible that will finally break these chains apart from my soul.

Pauline Kolhase

“For many years I have grown to appreciate the unique appearance of flowers and enjoy the simplicity of their beauty. For this exhibition I have painted flowers that around my home which I have been inspired by my grandmother who loved gardening and instilled in me at a very young age the beauty of what is in front of us every day.”

Pauline Kolhase, Artist Statement Senior Thesis Art Exhibition, 2016 

Faculty of Education, National University of Samoa 

Pauline Kolhase a Visual Art teacher at Leifiifi College completing her degree in Education at the National University of Samoa. 


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