‘Tama o le ‘Ele’ele’ Exhibition at N.U.S.

13 September 2018, 12:00AM

“Tama o le Ele’ele” (heirs of the land) is a juried art exhibition that was part of the Samoa 1V Conference at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S). 

The exhibition runs until tomorrow, Friday 14 September. Children, teenagers and adults will enjoy the exhibition that is open each day.

Last Tuesday, local and visiting academics, artists, students, and children gathered to acknowledge and enjoy the arts in Samoa.

The programme began with musicians from the National Orchestra of Samoa and contemporary dancers from SPACE. The music and dance performances were inspiring and uplifting, and set the scene for the exhibition that followed. 

Nick Hurley, Acting New Zealand High Commissioner, was the keynote speaker and he was pleased to see that the arts in Samoa were moving forward and he praised the efforts of local artist who kept pushing for the arts to be recognized in Samoa. The New Zealand High Commission kindly sponsored the exhibition. 

 “Tama o le Ele’ele” is a noteworthy exhibition and includes established artists, emerging artists and art students. Dr. Vanya Taule’alo, Leua Latai, (artists and art educators), and Lalovai Peseta and Nikki Mariner Peseta, (artists and managers of the Manumea Studio. The emerging artists and student artists are from the Leulumoega School of Fine Art, Manumea Art Studio, and the National University of Samoa. 

The juried exhibition aimed to display artworks that are innovative, novel, inventive; that push boundaries, and that use materials in creative ways. The artworks portray personal themes that include: imagination and fantasy, current events, social issues, cultural heritage and menacing impacts of climate change. 

The styles and materials used by the artists are varied - drawings and painting, acrylic and water paints, spray-painting, stained- glass windows, recycled rubbish for the wearable art and digitally created images. The choices point to future employment options for Samoan youth in graphics and design, illustration, fine arts as well as teaching. 

Tinai Kennar a student at N.U.S. won a ‘Best in Show Award’ (3 were awarded) with a beautifully cut paper work. He enjoys art because he sees it as a way ‘you use your mind and imagination to create something meaningful.’ Tinai’s work is intelligently designed and beautifully crafted. He wants to be an art teacher 

Pele Lio from the Manumea Studio also won a ‘Best in Show Award.’ He is a serious young artist and his painting “Emoni Mafatiaga” (painful truth) is a powerful artwork about domestic violence, a subject that is now being widely discussed in Samoa. 

Kitiona Senei, from Leulumoega School of Fine Art won a ‘Best in Show’ for his large painting “Tepatasi.” (look again), Senei wants people to be aware of the consequences of dangerous driving. In this work he is reflecting on the lives of those who were taken by this tragic bus accident on 29th January 2018, at 2:00pm on a Saturday afternoon. Senei implores us to appreciate how precious life is. 

Lenora Rasmussen is a first year student at N.U.S. and she won a ‘Honourable Mention Award.’ Her works range from paintings to pen and ink drawings and watercolour illustrations. She has exhibited ‘Traditional and Fashionable Taupo Wear,” that was created in collaboration with her father Beau Rasmussen, who is one of Samoa’s master carvers. 

Edward Tauiliili and Ierenimo Pio also won “Honourable Mention Awards.” Tauiliili dreams of being an illustrator and his works are finely crafted pen and ink drawings. Pio creates illustrative works with spray paint that are based on space, super heroes. Their strengths are in illustration and design.

Curator of the exhibition Leua Latai is compiling a catalogue for the show and there will be a closing ceremony for the launch of the catalogue. The catalogue will detail what is taking place with art in Samoa. Latai notes that; …”We need to have some sort of formal documentation - there is so much talent within our own local artists and this needs to be acknowledged, both locally and regionally.” 

Writer Sia Figiel visited the exhibition and this is her personal comment about the artworks. “There is a depth of emotion and stunning maturity to this exhibition that is compelling in its enormous talent. Exciting things to come for the artists and for Samoa.” 

The exhibition closes Friday 14th September.   Students were given awards for the exhibition that were generously donated by the New Zealand High Commission.  They are as follows:


Best in Show 

Leulumoega School of Fine Art – Kitiona, ‘Tepatasi’ ( lives lost 29 January 2018), Painting 

Manumea Studio –Pele Lio,  ‘Emoni Mafatiaga’ (the painful truth), painting.

NUS Faulty of Education Students – Tinai Kennar, ‘untitled’, cut paper


Memorable Mention

Leulumoega School of Fine Art – Filifiliga, ‘Alofivae’ stained glass window 

NUS Faulty of Education Students – Edward Tauiliili, pen on paper

-Lenora Rasmussen, untitled, water & colour pen -Iernimo Pio, ‘Chief Frost’, spray paint on canvas

13 September 2018, 12:00AM

Trending Stories

Samoa Observer

Upgrade to Premium

Subscribe to
Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device.

Ready to signup?