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Sea travels across the Pacific inspires artist

Sea travels across the Pacific inspires artist

Folau, by Fatu
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Folau, by Fatu Feu’u, represents the journey of Pacific people to Waitakere.

Media release

December 12, 2008
Sea travels across the Pacific inspires artist

The creation of a large installation to adorn Waitakere City Council’s civic building has been a journey for artist Fatu Feu’u, reminiscent of that taken by his ancestors, who inspired the piece.

Folau, officially unveiled last night, pays homage to the importance sailing and the sea plays in Pacific culture and is an interpretation of the migration of Pacific peoples to Waitakere.

“It alludes to the adventures and travels of the people of the Pacific as well as the many tools they would have used to navigate, fish and sail their way here,” says Mr Feu’u

“It’s been a big project,” the Waitakere Art Laureate says of the 12-month process.

“It’s probably the largest installation I have ever done and I’ve made several models and even re-did the whole thing at one stage because it just wasn’t right.

“But I am pleased with the way it has turned out and I hope others get enjoyment out of it too.”

Folau is made up of several different components from the large totem-like panels representing a house, a stick map representing the type of map used for navigation and painted copper representing the sea.

“I’ve also tried to incorporate traditional art styles of the Pacific and when you look at it you can see examples of carving, tapa designs, tattoo and the use of shells and natural fibres from the Pacific,” says the Samoan artist.

Highly-polished shells gathered from northern New Caledonia, Rarotonga and Tahiti are not just for decoration but represent shells being shone in the water to attract fish.

In unveiling the piece, Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey paid tribute to the rich culture and colour the Pacific community bring to the city.

“This piece is about aroha, it’s about your culture and our culture and a chance to recognise Waitakere’s Pacific people.

“You have created a gift for future generations, who when they walk through here are going to be dazzled by this,” he said.

Waitakere City Council commissioned Mr Feu’u in 2007 to create a piece for its Waitakere Central civic centre to represent the Pacific community in Waitakere.

The 12 metre Folau has been installed on the wall of the air bridge near the council chambers.


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