• Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka

Tukutonga (Leaving Home) is Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka’s second solo exhibition at Jonathan Smart Gallery, following Kumi E Manatu in February, 2022. The artist describes this body of work as being dedicated to when he realised he needed to leave his village, families and friends in Tonga, to search for a better life, and for his art.

No tapa in this instance, but there is painting with base coats of metal so gently flecked with smoke, they could be the undulating surface of a tapa. Spiders’ webs and smoke remain the basis of Maka’s unusual visual lexicon, but things now, as you’d expect, are more refined and more physical. Canvases (or parts thereof) can be smoked several times for a really rich black, or touched with just the lightest caress if need be. And multiple webs are sprayed, balled and layered (in thick polyeurethane for example), when texture is required. Compositions vary with different degrees of control. And in two panoramic landscape paintings (Kula ‘o Avatongo and Holounua), a line of reflection bisects smoky island silhouettes with coloured webs, suggesting life forms past and present.

Maka’s quest continues, balancing an aesthetic imagination both delicate and strong. JS

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  • 52 Buchan Street, Sydenham
  • Christchurch 8023