Fatu Feu’u

Samoa / Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1946
Samoan

Taputapu 1

  • Purchased, 1991
  • Lithograph
  • 660 x 545mm
  • 91/10
  • 1990

This image is like an ancestral Samoan mask that would have been used in ritual ceremonies. ‘Tapu’ means sacred or forbidden so, in doubling the word in the title, Fatu Feu’u has invested the image with the power that such a mask requires. The title specifically refers to the pollution of the Manakau Harbour and indicates, ‘You must not use this place, do not take fish from here’. The technique of lithography comes from a Western tradition but Feu’u has printed the image onto tapa cloth, which is a traditional Samoan material. Feu’u was born in Western Samoa and immigrated to New Zealand in 1966. He worked for a textile company and began to make abstract paintings in his spare time. Feu’u began working full-time as an artist in 1988. In 1996 he was the inaugural Pacific artist in residence at the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Canterbury. Feu’u has exhibited widely within New Zealand and has completed numerous public commissions.