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  • About the Artist:Andy Leleisi'uao

In March 2010, Andy Leleisi'uao was unable to attend the opening of Manuia, a group exhibition in New York, and offered this statement to be read in his absence. It was not read out, but it symbolizes the honesty in his work:

In 2004, the Asia Society and Museum exhibited Paradise Now? To some degree it was a sugarcoated affair positioning and assembling artists from the Pacific region to showcase a West ern notion of contemporary Pacific art. The artists and artworks have stood the test of time but there has been no forecast of a return show for several years now. So, was Paradise Now? a one-off novelty exhibition, a sterilized concoction to satisfy curatorial obligations and validate institutionalized consciousness? Manuia is not a one-off tokenism exhibition. These works are not from savages in grass skirts to appease savages in red, white and blue clothes. They simply reflect a world within our world.

Leleisi'uao's early work reflected the realities of Samoans in New Zealand, through his own iconography such as sockets imprinted on foreheads (as in the self-portrait here). Today his work transcends into a silhouette world of cryptid creatures composed from daily observations of his community and explores more universal complexities of our inter-cultural world. He is an artist of innate political and social commentary who finds comfort at "16 Ventura Street, Mangere. This is where I've spent most of my life, and for one reason or another I always end up here. It's where my parents and sister live and kids come to stay. I don't need a studio, to be seen at art openings or be told I'm a good artist. I just need to know I'm a good son and father and the rest will follow."


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Portrait of Nimbus, by Andy Leleisi'uao. 2001. Acrylic on board, 80 cm x 100 cm.

A self-portrait referring to foreboding nimbus clouds.

The art featured in this issue can be viewed in full color in the online version of The Contemporary Pacific via Project MUSE. [End Page vi]


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Empowered Wallflower, by Andy Leleisi‘uao. 2006. Acrylic on canvas, 130 cm x 130 cm

This series was instigated by watching my mother subconsciously pass cultural knowledge to my daughter, whose blueness signifies the “outsider” aspect of living in a European culture.

[End Page 31]


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Sepatua Village, Ufological Island of Samoa, by Andy Leleisi‘uao. 2003. Acrylic on canvas, 50 cm x 30 cm

The Ufological Island of Samoa series depicted imaginary villages featuring a combination of alien technology, Pacific Islanders, and idyllic lifestyle.

[End Page 63]


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Blueness of My Tapacloth, by Andy Leleisi‘uao. 1997. Oil on hessian, 100 cm x 80 cm.

A response to preconceived notions of Pacific people in New Zealand during my parents’ generation.

[End Page 95]


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We’re Not Black, by Andy Leleisi‘uao. 2005. Oil on canvas, 76 cm x 60 cm

A statement about Samoans and other Polynesians being called or calling themselves “black” rather than the beautiful brown we are.

[End Page 119]


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Asefeka of the Unmalosa (Part I), by Andy Leleisi‘uao. 2009. Acrylic on canvas, 76 cm x 92 cm

An imaginary world depicting the franticness and importance of life through alofa.

[End Page 133]


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Detail, Pa'ceania (Part I), by Andy Leleisi‘uao. 2010. Oil on canvas, 80 cm x 1350 cm

This panel was part of a 13.5-meter double-sided work through the center of a gallery that played with the psychology of a large space.

[End Page 171]


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Crucifixion,, by Andy Leleisi‘uao. 2010. Acrylic on canvas, 76 cm x 156 cm

A crucifixion takes place in a cryptid world. This dire chapter of the Bible is reenacted with strange creatures replacing humans.

[End Page 207]


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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9464
Print ISSN
1043-898X
Pages
p. vii
Launched on MUSE
2012-02-12
Open Access
No
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