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Posts Tagged ‘spiritual art’

Controversial “Kamoan” artist Andy Leleisi’uao to complete inaugural Taiwanese arts residency – profile

Posted by artradar on April 12, 2010


NEW ZEALAND-SAMOAN ARTIST PAINTING ARTS RESIDENCY TAIWAN

Socially motivated New Zealand-Samoan wraps up Taiwanese arts residency

Andy Leleisi’uao is a “Kamoan” (meaning Kiwi + Samoan, a term coined by the artist himself) artist who is the first New Zealander to be accepted for an inaugural three-month Taiwanese arts residency offered by the Asia New Zealand Foundation in partnership with the Taipei Artist Village. He completed the residency at the end of March this year, wrapping it up with a group exhibition and open studio event at the Taipei Artist Village.

Leleisi’uao began his artistic career as a widely celebrated social commentator on Samoans living in New Zealand; his paintings controversially exploring issues associated the Samoan diaspora. As he has developed his style, he has begun to both internalize and universalize these themes, exploring fantastical worlds and opening his art to a global audience.

Areatures of the Arctaur People I, 2009

His early art can be uncomfortable to view, often described by critics as confronting and controversial. In these works, his themes and intentions are obvious to the viewer; he shouts them from the canvas. During the late 1990s, Leleisi’uao’s paintings were highly politicized, socially motivated and somewhat autobiographical. He dealt obviously with the societal problems – domestic violence, poverty, unemployment and youth suicide – faced by blue-collar Pacific Island, particularly Samoan, immigrants to New Zealand.

“Leleisi’uao’s work emerges as a telling and insightful contrast to the colour, festivities and general brightness that characterizes popular media representations of Pacific Islands cultures.” Caroline Vercoe MA, Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland

The Immigrant, 1997

Pacific Island communities are generally strongly Christian and Leleisi’uao often highlighted the negative impact of the church on Samoan families, painting expressionistic pastors getting richer as communities get poorer. This focus on the negative albeit real issues faced by Pacific Islanders living in New Zealand is something that at times put him at odds with local communities.

“My early work in Samoan diaspora was necessary for self-development. It is a universal theme amongst concerns such as racism, domestic violence [and] suicide. I was in an environment and position in which these issues needed to be addressed and I used my vocation to create such works.” Andy Leleisi’uao, 2010

Angel of Falo, 2000

Since the early 2000s, however, Leleisi’uao has moderated and universalized his voice, shifting his painting focus and style. His most recent paintings are far less direct in their presentation of the painter’s ambitions and motivations. While still dealing with issues of social dislocation, he utilizes mythology and spiritualism to conjure up alternate universes populated with fantastical creatures.

“In these more recent works though the voice is more moderated and rather than a Pacific voice the works have a more universal theme of social and moral dysfunction and alienation.” John Daly, National Business Review, 2009

A critic described paintings in 2009 exhibition Le Onoeva – Misunderstood Aitu as “Armageddon-like, with gods and demons bringing saviour and damnation to a waiting populace,” while many others noted the recent moderation of his style.

“My role has changed over the years. My obligations towards social and political issues remain but at the moment I am on a cryptid journey I am really enjoying.” Andy Leleisi’uao, 2010

Though reportedly toned-down, Leleisi’uao’s newer representations still manage to stir public opinion; as reported in 2009 in the National Business Review, a commissioned public mural project planned for a community centre in South Auckland, New Zealand, came to a halt due to local community backlash.

Andy Leleisi’uao is represented by Whitespace (Auckland, New Zealand) and BCA (Raratongo, Cook Islands). This year, he has solo exhibitions in various major cities in Auckland and group exhibitions in Taiwan and New York. He recently won the coveted 2010 McCahon Arts Residency. His works are collected by major art museums and institutions worldwide including Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland University Collection, BCA Collection, Casula Powerhouse, Chartwell Trust Collection, Frankfurt Museum, Ilam University Collection, James Wallace Trust Collection, Manukau City Collection, Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures and Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand.

KN/KCE

Related Topics: spirituality in art, myth figures in art, New Zealand artists

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Posted in Migration, Mythical figures, New Zealander, Painting, Profiles, Residencies, Samoan, Social, Spiritual, Taiwan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

What is Indonesian style? Jumaldi Alfi on the art, style and Jogja – interview

Posted by artradar on November 25, 2009


CONTEMPORARY INDONESIAN ART

The Sotheby’s success of contemporary Indonesian artists like  I Nyoman Masriadi, who sold  a single painting for more than $245,000 USD at auction on October 6th, 2009 in Hong Kong, has grabbed the attention of the art world. There finally appears to be much international interest in art from the politically heated Southeast Asian island nation. However, what is Indonesian art, and is there an ‘Indonesian style’? Art Radar Asia researcher Erin Wooters discusses the emerging style from this part of the art world with renowned Indonesian artist Jumaldi Alfi at Sin Sin Fine Art in Hong Kong before the opening of the ‘Diverse 40 x 40’ exhibition, which features the works of Alfi, Andy Dewantoro, and Nasirun.

Renewal/ Verjungung Series 3-A, by Jumaldi Alfi, 2009. Acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy of Sin Sin Fine Art.

Jumaldi Alfi, born July 19th 1973, is from Padang in West Sumatra, and studied in Java at the Indonesian High School of the Arts and then the Indonesian Institute of Arts in Jogja (also known as Yogyakarta or Jogjakarta.) In 2008 his work sold for upwards of $35,000 USD at Sotheby’s,  and he has experienced continued success in 2009. He describes his complicated journey to becoming an artist:

Alfi: My family has a poetry culture. My uncle is a poet and my family prepared me to be appointed to his position, because in our clan we need someone to talk to people with symbolic words. My uncle taught me, but I couldn’t [take his position], because in our poetic culture you need to have very focused writing, from the first to the last word, or else the meaning is gone… Honestly, I did not always want to be an artist. I thought I would follow my uncle, because of our bloodline. But when I chose to be an artist for my career, my mom wanted to know why. They thought artists were not disciplined, so stinky, long hair..

Q: What do you think makes Indonesian art different or unique from other Southeast Asian art?

Alfi: Eighty percent of the artists stay in Jogja.. In Indonesia, especially in Jojga, we live together and have an open community, keeping and sharing the energy… We open our hearts, not just the brain.

Q: So you think the way the people interact is special and different, and that’s what makes the art different?

Alfi: Yea, the place! The city is open, individual, and very personal. Jojgakarta is a small city, and feels like all family. If I am bored or depressed when working in my studio late at night, I can go out, places will still be open, and many artists will be there. I think it’s good. We talk, and then I am back to my studio with a renewed energy.

Q: Is there anything else that makes Indonesian art unique or different from other Southeast Asian art?

Alfi: Yes, our heart.

Renewal /Verjungung Series 2-B, by Jumaldi Alfi, 2009. Acrylic on Canvas. Image courtesy of Sin Sin Fine Art

Q: Are there any subject matters or themes relating Indonesian art?

Alfi: Honestly, we don’t have a connector in Indonesian art. You can’t find something and say – Oh, this is Indonesian style. You can see the style is very modern. We use Western techinique. We use oil and acrylic, but still you can feel it is not Western. It is not Western because when we start working, we don’t use our brain first. We use our feeling, it’s about feeling. If we’re inspired, we work. If not, we stop.

Q: I see. That touches on the next question, which is if there is a distinct ‘Indonesian style’.

Alfi: We don’t have an Indonesian style. Indonesia is only a nation. A nation- basically, we are different. West Sumatra and Java are different. The language, the culture, the food, the character, and the emotional feeling are different. The Javanese people are more defensive than the Sumatrans. Sumatrans are more progressive, and have more heart. Javanese are more quiet.

Q: What is Jogja surrealism, and what inspired it?

Alfi: The 80’s! Jojga surrealism and abstract expressionism is the generation from the 1980’s. In Jojga, the painting is not only surreal, the situation is surreal. Many modern people live there but still believe in traditional mysticism. The surrealism concept in Indonesia and in the West is totally different.

Q: Is your art spiritually inspired or a response to the spirituality in Indonesia?

Alfi: Yes, very much. [It is] not conceptual. Art is the way for me to understand myself.

Renewal /Verjungung Series 4-B, by Jumaldi Alfi, 2009. Acrylic on Canvas. Image courtesy of Sin Sin Fine Art.

Q:  Is there a central theme in your artwork or a certain idea you are exploring?

Alfi: It is my idea of myself. It is about myself and what I’m feeling. If you want to know the people, know yourself. If you know yourself, you know the people.

Q: How did you meet Sin Sin?

Alfi: I think we found each other because of her karma and my karma. When I first met her my English was really bad and we couldn’t talk, but when I showed her my work she understood. I felt good energy, and that is very important to me. I knew it was a good situation. I believe in the connection of body language and the aura. Sometimes you meet people you don’t know, but you want to help them. After one minute, you feel like old friends.

Q: What is the nationality of your major collectors?

Alfi: Mostly Indonesian, although the art is making its way to Europe. I think 80% of my collectors are concerned with investment and business, and the rest are serious art lovers.

Jumaldi Alfi is currently exhibiting at Sin Sin Fine Art’s “Diverse- 40 x 40” with fellow Indonesian artists Andy Dewantoro and Nasirun. The show runs from Nov 12- Dec 13, 2009.

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Posted in Gallery shows, Heart art, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Indonesian, Interviews, Jumadli Alfi, Painting, Self, Spiritual, Surrealist | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »