Samoa Observer

'Your work has humanised the sufferings of the son of God'

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'Your work has humanised the sufferings of the son of God'

Dear Kitiona Simei, it is with a deep respect for your fearlessness and your talent that I write. 

Your very moving depiction of Jesus under the au, surrounded by the brotherhood of the tufuga and his assistants, shows a courageous and provocative imagination at work, one whose iconoclastic brush is stroked with humility, compassion, and empathy that allowed me as an audience member to feel Jesus’s pain, his agony which is unimaginable. 

Jesus’ face in your painting shows not only the endurance of immense physical pain but clearly a profound mental and spiritual anguish about things yet to come. 

Through your sheer audacity, you have done what artists and poets, and writers have done throughout history, which is to become an agent of transformation. 

Not only have you transformed the son of a Jewish carpenter who was violently whipped and beaten to his demise on the cross into a son of a Samoan fisherman, mechanic, politician, and perhaps a DJ? 

Your work has opened conversations on identity, representation, and (de)colonisation, that were otherwise silenced or simply non-existent. 

You have humanised the sufferings of the son of God, claiming his pain as ours. 

That is not only a triumph of the human spirit, it is a gift to reflect and meditate on, as we strive to emulate Jesus, through our daily lives. Sao fa’alalelei. Malo le fai o le faiva. 

Sia Figiel

Samoa Observer

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