15 February, 2011

A dream come true - Samoa’s newest art gallery

by Susan Faoagali


A dream has been realised for Tu’u’u and Vanya Ta’ulealo. This happened when they opened their Art Gallery at their home in Si’usega, last week.

Called the ‘Vanya Taule’alo Art Gallery’, it is also a beginning of a new era in Visual Arts in Samoa.

Vanya has been involved in the creative art field for more than 30 years.

Her passion for art and education was realised early on and while bringing up their three sons — Setu, Masina and Alae, Vanya incorporated art into her work as a kindergarten principal in Apia.

From there, she moved onto the teachers college (WSTC) where she was the driving force behind development of Art Education in Samoa.

This led to the development of the Visual Arts curriculum for secondary schools (years 9-12) with many schools now offering Visual Arts as a subject in the Samoa School Certificate examination.

As an artist, Vanya has grown and developed throughout the years while also furthering her professional career through diplomas-masters-and PhD level qualifications.

After leaving the public sector in 2009, both Tu’u’u and Vanya were able to put the considerable amount of time and effort needed to realise their dream of renovating their house and land/garden to allow the proper display of Vanya’s art work.

“The aim was to make our living and working space at home a tranquil space with native trees, vegetable and herb garden and now we have added a gallery” explains Vanya.

The guests at the small opening held on Wednesday night, were appreciative of the space referred by Vanya and Tu’u’u and even with the rain were able to enjoy the beautiful garden and patio surrounded by native trees and bush.

“This is a very pleasant environment to relax and particularly to look at some wonder art based on our own natural environment” describes one guest.

The environment is very much a theme of Vanya’s art work and has been a passion (o
bsession!) for both Tu’u’u and Vanya for many years.  The series currently showing in the gallery is the xxxx based on the Mangroves.

A kayak visit to the Sanapu mangroves has been used as the basis of the series of work which includes paintings on canvas, paintings on paper, photo graphs, real objects and cherished objects (painted and framed).

“The mangrove trip was beautiful and incredibly moody, the sight and sounds, the birds and the whole environment was astounding to me” Vanya said.

Over the years as Vanya has developed her different series of works, first an idea or concept will resonate with her. Then through researching the themes, reflecting and exploring the subject matter the images are put together in a way that works for her.

“I’m always trying to push the boundaries by doing something new each time, for example this series I have inserted print of the photos I took during my visit to the mangrove” Vanya continues.

The main pieces of the xxx Series are composite pictures, which are paintings done on different size canvases that are hung together to represent one whole picture. These were a particular hit with the opening function guests,

“I just love how the different paintings fit together, but I can also see how they can be put a different way say along a stairway wall, or on different walls in one room, they are just lovely” exclaims another guest.

The future plans for the gallery is to be open a few days a week for visits, but also available for other Artists to show their work. There has been interest shown already from Artists in Samoa and from overseas to make use of this space.

“Networking is another aim of ours, providing a venue for young and emerging Samoan artists who are serious about their work, as well as for Artists overseas to see Samoa as a viable place to bring their work to show,” Vanya further explains.

Networks have already been established, with artists in New Caledonia, Cook Island, USA and Africa contacting Vanya contact through Facebook and the gallery web page.

The future looks bright for the newest art gallery in Samoa and hopefully we will see many more artists both local and overseas making use of this wonderful space so that the general population of Samoa, are able to visit, be moved and inspired through our Artists work.

For appointments to the Vanya Taulealo Gallery please call +685 772 9993, or +685 21488.

Source: Samoa Observer