Fatu Feu’u is an internationally recognised Samoan-New Zealand artist. He has been pivotal in shaping the interest in contemporary Pacific art globally and nurturing a generation of Pacific artists locally, leading to his reputation as the “Father of contemporary Pacific art”.
Feu’u grew up in the village of Poutasi in the district of Falealili in Samoa and emigrated to New Zealand in 1966.
Since becoming a full-time artist in 1988, his paintings, prints, bronze & wooden sculptures and ceramics are now held in public land private collections around the world. He was the first artist of Pacific heritage awarded the James Wallace Art Award (1995) and the New Zealand Order of Merit for his achievements in art (2001).
Feu’u explores motifs of Pacific and particularly his Samoan culture, but with a strong modernist interpretation. His love of Picasso and the early 20th century modernists is also evident in his distinctive style – which sees him recognised as one of the leading New Zealand Pacific artists.
Over recent years, his works have expressed the rebuilding, physically and spiritually, of the tsunami which struct Samoa in 2009 – particularly the Poutasi area, where Feu’u holds chiefly status. His thoughts on life are “woven” into his canvases, with the constant use of siapo (tapa or bark cloth) designs that refer to his ancestry and heritage.
Feu’u has works in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa Tongarewa, the Waikato Museum in Hamilton and in other major New Zealand public collections.