Visual artist Siliga Setoga awarded Creative New Zealand 2015 Samoa Artist-In-Residence
14 Jul 2015
Samoan artist Siliga Setoga will undertake a three-month artist residency exploring cultural identity at the National University of Samoa from August to October this year.
Offered by Creative New Zealand in partnership with the University of Samoa, the residency gives Pasifika artists, resident in New Zealand, an opportunity to develop their skills and practice.
Auckland-born Siliga has a strong background in graphic art, performance art, installation art and sculpture. A fluent Samoan speaker, his work explores identity and analyses the influences of New Zealand society, popular culture, the church and Fa’a-Samoa (the Samoan way of life) – and how each of these contributes to his trans-cultural identity.
Siliga views the residency as an opportunity to return to the source of his identity which will help him further understand his culture.
“The residency at the National University of Samoa will combine my two passions – art and my beloved Fa’a-Samoa,” says Siliga.
“I hope to develop the potential to exhibit in Samoa and to also connect with local Samoan artists and help them exhibit here in New Zealand.”
During his residency Siliga will explore the MAU movement (Samoan independence movement), as he feels that it is significant to a contemporary understanding of his own identity. Specifically, he will:
- create Portraits of the Mau – a series that pays tribute to ancestors who fought for the freedom that the Samoan people have today
- engage with arts community in Samoa
- deliver workshops and art classes based on his own practice as a contemporary artist in New Zealand
- immerse himself in Samoan culture and environment and involve his family.
“We are thrilled to have Siliga undertake the 2015 residency,” says Arts Council Pacific representative Luamanuvao Winnie Laban. “The selection panel felt Siliga put forward an impressive proposal that will benefit both the Samoan community and himself as an artist.”
Having taught art and design disciplines at a number of tertiary institutions, Siliga is involved in nurturing young artists. He is Co-Chair of Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust and an art mentor and tutor at Tautai’s Fresh Horizons programme, which is an outreach initiative for high school students.
The annual residency provides up to $15,000 for an artist’s stipend, accommodation and travel costs. Established in 2006, previous recipients include Lemi Ponifasio, Shigeyuki Kihara, the Vahine Collective, Tiffany Singh, Jim Vivieaere, Nathaniel Lees and Fiona Collins.
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