Andy Leleisi’uao is one of the most significant Pasifika artists living and working in New Zealand today. This survey show of his career at the TSB Wallace Arts Centre | Pah Homestead is a career first for the artist and offers the general public an unprecedented opportunity to experience the diverse nature of Leleisi’uao’s practice including paintings, sculpture, drawings and installation.

Leleisi’uao began his artistic career as a social commentator on Samoans living in New Zealand; his works exploring urban issues associated with Pacific diaspora. His early art can be uncomfortable to view, sometimes described as confronting and controversial. The themes and intentions are apparent to the viewer; he shouts them from the canvas, confronting domestic violence, poverty, racism, unemployment and youth suicide, agonizing concerns faced by blue-collar Pacific Island immigrants, particularly Samoan, to New Zealand.

In 2008, Leleisi’uao’s painting style transitioned, with the breakthrough exhibition Angipanis of the Abanimal People. His narrative evolved in dramatic fashion, becoming a universal examination of humanities behaviour. The premise of a new, emergent world society was born, re-imagined as a parallel universe, where the traditional human foibles of inequality, injustice and intolerance are constantly broken down and reconstructed in an endless endeavour to build Utopia.

Leleisi’uao is influenced by an enormous range of sources, drawing from ancient and modern history, literary and music history, art history, pop culture history, world headlines, personal experiences. He tells the story of what we can be as a species, regardless of our cultural stature, religious convictions, skin colour or sexual orientation.

Fantastical new world societies are created within his canvases, populated by creatures both familiar and strange. What is ugly becomes beautiful, what is chaos becomes structure. He asks that we now see our immediate and global community from a different perspective, learning from past mistakes to create a reality free of all prejudice.

Over a 22-year period, Leleisi’uao has participated in 78 solo and 147 group exhibitions in Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington, Dunedin, Sydney, Rarotonga, Taiwan, New York, Slovakia & Hungary. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Pataka Art + Museum; Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa Tongarewa; Auckland Art Gallery – Toi O Tāmaki; Chartwell Collection; New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Wallace Arts Trust; Auckland University; Canterbury University; Otago University; Manukau City; Pacific Business Trust; Casula Powerhouse, Sydney, and the Museum of Ethnography, Frankfurt.

KAMOAN MINE is proudly supported by TSB | Wallace Arts Centre, Sir James Wallace, Ron Brownson, Creative New Zealand, Ultimo Group | The Print Cave, Bergman Gallery, John Leech Framing Workshop & Max White.

Pah Homestead / TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre

  • 72 Hillsborough Road
  • Auckland 1345