Tapa'au; Fatu Feu'u; 1992; 1993/28/1



About this object

Fatu Feu'u was born in the village of Poutasi Falealili on the island of Savai'i in Samoa. Educated at Apia's Samoa College, he emigrated to New Zealand in 1966 in order to study art. He was soon encouraged by local artists to continue with his painting, and he has held regular exhibitions since 1983, both nationally and internationally. His significance as a mentor for other Pacific artists has been widespread, as much through his sense of vocation as by the example of his art. In paintings, prints, and sculpture, Feu'u has transformed traditional design motifs into fresh meanings: tatau, siapo, ufimata, lalaga and gogo - tattoo, barkcloth, masks, weaving and the frigate bird - have together with lapita pottery all contributed to his visual presentation of Samoan legends and fa'asamoa or Samoan culture. In Tapa'au (woven coconut mat) the white fuga or blossom of the scented frangipani and the sight and sound of the frigate bird are symbols of birth and life that Samoans understand as being inseparable from their culture. By showing his art to people living outside of Samoa, Fatu Feu'u has revivified the connections between Samoan contemporary life and historical events and reinforced that are each is an ingredient of a transplanted heritage: 'I've taken the traditional art form and brought it into the contemporary, to today, and somebody else can take it to tomorrow. It's a way of keeping our art alive.' (from The Guide, 2001)


Fatu Feu'u

Maker Role


Date Made


Medium and Materials

lithograph with wood block


540 x 760mm

Subject and Association Description

Pacific Islanders, flowers, designs, mats, symbolism, symbols, identity

Credit Line

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, purchased 1993

Object Type


Object number



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Christine 26 May 2009 20:08 PM,UTC

Hi just wanted to let you kmow that Poutasi is on the island of Upolu not Savai'i. Poutasi is where my mum's family is from and have been there myself. Its like saying Auckland is in Stewart Island:)

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