'Reflections of a maestro Ernesto Coter'

By Leua Latai. 04 June 2023, 4:00PM

The art exhibition “Reflections of a Maestro-Ernesto Coter” was curated by the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) and timed to coincide with the country's 60th Independence anniversary celebrations.

The university offered assistance and support for four local Samoan artists in honouring Ernesto Coter's service and his lifelong dedication to the development of the arts in Samoa. 

The exhibition looked back to 1973 when Ernesto Coter first arrived in Samoa searching for a home to settle in. It has been 50 years since his arrival and 37 years since the establishment of the Leulumoega Fou School of Fine Arts in 1986 by the Congregational Christian Church Samoa and Ernesto Coter. 

The impact and mentorship of Coter as Samoa celebrated 60 years of its independence have been witnessed in Coter's contribution to the lives of his former students. Four of his former students, Lealofi Siaopo Toleafoa, Leua Latai, Pelenato Liufau, and Lalovai Peseta gathered and exhibited their artwork together while celebrating his life.  

Today the development of the arts has come a long way since the early 1970s. Samoa has a curriculum for expressive arts (visual arts, music and performing arts) for primary and secondary schools. It has been over 15 years now since the Faculty of Education at the N.U.S. started training teachers for both primary and secondary school levels and provided a major and minor for visual arts. 

As we celebrate 60 years of Samoa's independence we also celebrate the future development of our young people who are interested in the various disciplines of the arts. The art exhibition was a success with primary and secondary school students in attendance over the four days it was held at the N.U.S. 

The official opening of the four-day art exhibition included the gifting and presenting of Ernesto Coter's work to the Government of Samoa and the Congregational Christian Church Samoa by the N.U.S. Pro-Chancellor Professor Dr Emma Kruse-Vaai.

• Leua Latai was born in Papua New Guinea to Sāmoan missionary parents. She graduated from Western Sāmoa Secondary Teacher Training College and taught at Papauta Girls College, as well as Leulumoega Fou College and the Leulumoega Fou School of Fine Arts, acting as curator and coordinator from 2006 to 2008. She married a Peace Corps volunteer and emigrated to the United States, earning a BA (University of Wisconsin) and MFA in art (School of the Art Institute of Chicago). She is currently a senior lecturer in visual art and education at the N.U.S. and pursuing her doctorate in Sāmoan studies at the Centre for Sāmoan Studies.

By Leua Latai. 04 June 2023, 4:00PM
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