Eight Pasifika artists acknowledged at Arts Pasifika Awards 2022
From left to right: Fa'amoana John Luafutu, Daren Kamali, Kulimoe'anga Stone Maka, Joshua Pearson, Dahlia Malaeulu, Troy Tu'ua, ONZM Fatu Feu'u & Ululau Ama
From visual arts, to theatre, to the art of ngatu tā‘uli (blackened tapa cloth) - eight Pasifika artists are being recognised for their contribution to Pacific arts through the Creative NZ Arts Pasifika Awards.
"Contemporary Pasifika art, all our art, was contemporary - Western world claimed that abstract art belonged to them but all our arts - our dance, our language, our cultures, are all abstract. We did not paint portraits or landscapes we paint colours to represent something especially the black tapa it's an art of power" - Kulimoe’anga “Stone” Maka
"Through my arts I can connect back to the islands and that's what's kept me alive and kept my Pasifika heritage, and belief alive" Daren Kamali
"A bit of advice to our community - is to support the God Given talents of our children as opposed to saying 'get a real job'' Fa'amoana John Luafutu
While there are usually seven award winners, this year there are eight – two winners in the ‘Special Recognition Award’ category, which acknowledges a notable contribution to Pacific arts, nationally or internationally.
The selection process for these awards begins with public nominations, followed by robust assessment including external Pacific arts experts and a panel which makes recommendations to the Chief Executive of Creative New Zealand. The Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa reviewed the selection recommendations and made the final decisions.
2022 Arts Pasifika Award recipients are as follows:
ONZM Fatu Feu’u - Senior Pacific Artist Award
Feu’u is an internationally renowned artist – acknowledged as both a leader and mentor within the Pasifika arts community. He has been pivotal in shaping the interest in contemporary Pacific art globally and nurturing a generation of Pacific artists locally.
Feu’u grew up in the village of Poutasi, in Western Samoa, immigrating to New Zealand in 1966. Since becoming a full-time artist in 1988, his paintings, woodcut prints, bronze and wooden sculptures are now held in public and private collections around the world.
He gains inspiration from Polynesian art forms, such as siapo (bark/tapa cloth), tatau (tattooing), weaving, carving and ceremonial mask making. His works frequently blend traditional and contemporary elements, incorporating a range of influences, inspirations, techniques and motifs from Samoa and Aotearoa
Daren Kamali - Pacific Heritage Arts Award
Daren Kamali is Fijian, Wallis, Futunan and Scottish.
He is a poet and multi-disciplinary artist whose works are inspired by his upbringing in Fiji and Aotearoa, incorporating poetry, visual arts, performance arts, and sound/musicality with a Pan Pacific approach.
His creations draw from people and places, particularly cities, islands, and the ocean; a combination of the old and the fresh, Pacific heritage/tradition has heavily influenced his contemporary narrative connecting the past to the present to space, time and people.
Kulimoe’anga “Stone” Maka - Pacific Contemporary Artist Award
Stone is an interdisciplinary artist who was born in Tonga, in the village of Pātangata and is the second youngest of 12 children. His father was a carpenter, and his mother was a fisher, weaver and Tapa maker. Stone's father nourished and encouraged his creativity from a young age, and later Stone was inspired to become a professional artist by his teacher Professor Viliami Toluta’u.
Stone’s art practice is heavily influenced by his Tongan heritage, and his work is inspired by the sacred art of ngatu tā‘uli, blackened tapa cloth. His work often combines traditional methods with contemporary and experimental techniques. His current media is smoke and real spider webs.
Ululau Ama - Pacific Toa Award
Ululau was born in 1994 at Moto’otua Hospital in Apia, Sāmoa. He had meningitis at 3 months old and was later diagnosed with epilepsy. Ululau has attended Art Therapy classes and is currently an artist at Māpura Arts Studios in Auckland, Aotearoa. Ululau’s work includes drawing, printmaking, poetry, music, painting and sculpture.
He is a visual storyteller, with his Pacific identity weaving through all his art, and many of his works are based on Samoan mythology. He tells stories of Sāmoa through his work.
Fa’amoana John Luafutu - Special Recognition Award
Fa’amoana John Luafutu belongs to the Sa Tuatagaloa Family and the villages of Satala and Poutasi, Falealili, Sāmoa.
From his groundbreaking novella, A Boy Called Broke - written while an inmate in Rolleston Prison - to participating in the formation of Pacific Underground with his sister Losa Tamati, to acting alongside Scarlett Johanssen in the blockbuster film Ghost in the Shell, to his legendary musicianship - Fa’amoana’s journey of creative work has had a significant impact on Pacific storytelling in Aotearoa.
Fa’amoana’s contribution to the Royal Commission Pacific hearing crossed the boundaries of art and social justice, where eight years of the careful articulation of his story through performance became his testimony, and a 20-minute version of award-winning documentary A Boy called Piano, directed by Nina Nawalowalo, was shown to support his words.
Troy Tu’ua - Special Recognition Award
Troy Tu’ua, hailing from the beautiful villages of Magiagi, Mulifanua and Afega, in Sāmoa, is a multi-disciplinary artist and one of the first-ever graduates of the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts (2009). After graduating, Troy made his professional theatre debut in New Zealand Opera’s La Bohème and starred in Auckland Theatre Company’s Pollyhood in Mumuland in 2011, A Frigate Bird Sings in 2012, Badjelly the Witch tour in 2013 and Sons in 2014.
In 2014, Troy was part of the cast of New Zealand’s first ever Pasifika musical, The Factory Musical for Kila Kokonut Krew, which toured Australia and Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe festival. Most recently, Troy directed Lalelei, Mirror Mirror and Wizard of Ōtāhuhu, which won the prestigious Auckland Theatre Awards in 2017 - 2018 and also directed the hit theatre show Dawn Raids by Oscar Kightley produced by Pacific Underground and Auckland Theatre Company.
Troy is also the artistic director of Pacific theatre dance collective, Sau E Siva Creatives.
Dahlia Malaeulu - Emerging Pacific Artist Award
Dahlia Malaeulu is a Samoan New Zealander with connections to the villages of Sinamoga and Vaivase tai in Sāmoa. She is an award-winning author, publisher and creator of Mila’s Books – Pasifika children’s books that help tamaiti to be seen, heard and valued as Pasifika.
A passionate educator at heart, Dahlia is driven by enabling tamaiti to confidently succeed as themselves while sharing the power of our stories as Pasifika. She is the first Pasifika author to have stories published across all schooling levels and travels around Aotearoa in a variety of reading advocacy roles.
Joshua Pearson - Iosefa Enari Memorial Award
Joshua Pearson is an Aotearoa-born Samoan sonic artist, composer, and creative technologist. His villages are from Salelavalu, Sapapali'i, Safotulafai and Fusi on the island of Savaii, Sāmoa.
Joshua is a music composition graduate at the University of Auckland, specialising in vocal and instrumental music and sonic arts/electroacoustic music under renowned composers Eve de Castro-Robinson, Leonie Holmes and sonic artist John Coulter. Joshua is currently completing his master's degree in creative technologies at AUT (Auckland University of Technology) this year.
Joshua’s biggest highlight as a composer and sonic artist was being selected as the composer-in-residence for the National Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2020 – he was the first Pasifika person to gain this position.
Watch the full awards presentation in the video link below -