Artist dedicates exhibition to mother

Artist, Auimatagi Stefan von Reiche, showcased contemporary art pieces at the Madd Gallery, Moto'otua, this weekend.

The exhibition attracted a decent crowd of admirers to his family's gallery where Auimatagi dedicated the exhibition to his mother, Papali'i Momoe von Reiche.

"It's about celebrating her, the work that she's done in her career as a teacher, as an artist herself, as a poet," he said. 

"And she has had this gallery open for 31 years, so I'm proud that in a sense it's to honour her. This is for her."

The art pieces displayed are very recent, overall titled: "Elements of Light and Breath." All are dated 2019 with Auimatagi saying the most recent could be last month. Most of the artwork were displayed with a price of up to $500.

"For me, they represent my meditations, the environment, landscapes that I live in," said the Australia-based Auimatagi.

"Not only does landscape influence my work, I guess it refers to aspects of just my own sense of spirituality, personal relationship with God, if you like, not that I'm religious, but more spiritually with nature and energy and [such]."

With his artwork, Auimatagi described the process of expressing in art form as a prayer, but on paper.

"I use art as a process of relating to my inner most higher self, if you like, or just zoning out," he said.

"Just being able to retrieve from the world, and I guess that has always been the process since I was a child."

For Auimatagi, art is a form of momentarily withdrawing and getting in touch with his inner self.

"It's like physicalising your prayer, your meditation."

He told the Samoa Observer that because his work is very personal, having the exhibition was not his idea but his mother's. 

This is their major exhibition of the year.

"I feel quite overwhelmed actually, because the last time I exhibited here was 25 years ago," said Auimatagi.

"It was never intended to be this way. I didn't plan to exhibit but what happened was I sent my mother some artwork [a few months ago] and then I had to come to see my dad because he's not well.

"And then she decided to, and it's good."

A proud mother, Papali'i said she was flattered by her son's comments.

"Stefan has done a lot to develop and uplift contemporary art in Samoa and the Pacific," she said.

"He's a very free expressive artist."

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