Samoan Artists: Fatu Akelei Feu'u

In yesterday's innovative art forms I showed you a bull made from old tins. We will look at more work by Polynesian artist Michel Tuffery later but today I want to show you some of the works of Fatu Akelei Feu'u. The Hero Image today is one of his works - Adoration of Fertility Ritual by Night 2001. Woodcut (Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki).

Fatu Akelei Feu'u was born in 1946 in the village of in Samoa. He is a Senior Contemporary Pacific Artist and acknowledged as both a Leader and Mentor within the Pacific Arts community in New Zealand where he moved to live when he was 20. Here is a satellite image of Poutasi which looks pretty gorgeous. Fa'asamoa is the unifying element of Feu'u's work. The term fa'asamoa is generally defined as 'the Samoan way'. Although this lithograph is untitled I think it represents much of his work.

Samoan society is based on unwritten cultural conventions which are embodied in fa'asamoa -binding family networks to traditional customs and ceremonies. This is a woodcut and lithograph titled Villga Amuli.

Feu’u’s work details his personal responses and interpretations of oral histories, myths, stories, songs, traditions and political events in and about Samoa. He often uses tatau (tattoo) and siapo (tapa cloth) designs. Siapo is not only a decorative art, it is a symbol of Samoan culture. It is used for clothing, burial shrouds, bed covers, ceremonial garments etc.

Feu’u works to create a visual narrative of oral traditions as can be seen in this lithograph Hauraki Pale Auro.

His palette is usually bright with distinct brushwork and often many layers of paint giving a textual appearance. This is Tamilo I Moama which illustrates his strong island colours.
Yet here he has gone for natural colours.

As Feu'u works in a wide range of mediums he is able to show his talent across a range of skills. He makes bronze, wood and stone sculptures-here are Tuitagaloa and Rongo.
And Kone Fitu

He also does pottery design and glass works (both stained and etched). And I found an example of his wood caving where Fatu Feu’u has drawn on the motifs and iconography of ancient Polynesian art.

Collections Feu'u's work is included in a number of prestigious national and international collections including the National Gallery, Brisbane; Auckland Art Gallery; Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington and Waikato Museum of Art and History, Hamilton. His work is also included in an extensive number of private collections in New Zealand, Australia, United States of America, England, Holland, American Samoa, Samoa and Japan.

Tautai Arts Organisation Tautai, an organisation of contemporary Pacific artists in New Zealand, was founded in the 1980s as an informal network from an initiative by Feu'u and artist friends. This group shared a goal of mutual support for the promotion of Pacific visual art artists, at a time when Pacific art was in the very early stages of recognition as a particular genre. In 2005, Tautai celebrated its 10th anniversary as a formalised organisation. Members include other established Pacific artists such as painter and sculptor Johnny Penisula, multi-media artist Shigeyuki Kihara and Michel Tuffery.

For those of you who are painters. I do have videos on my Facebook page (Anne-Newman-Artist) which you might be interested in. Over a series of videos I have shown how to draw up and paint a country town. Today I have uploaded a new video which shows how to paint distant mountains and bluestone cottages.

I do want to continue with the Samoan artists but I have a little Easter surprise first. Making art from rabbits? Maybe! It might take a couple of days to prepare so tomorrow you will get a cartoon.

Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on anewman@netspace.net.au or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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