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Andy Leleisi'uao

Andy Leleisi’uao by Raymond Sagapolutele

Andy Leleisi’uao is one of the most significant Pacific artists living and working in New Zealand today. Over the past twenty years Leleisi’uao’s style has morphed from highly volatile, expressive paintings and sculpture into sophisticated stories reflecting the artist’s personal beliefs. 

Through his more recent work, Leleisi’uao has created alternative universes, emergent societies populated by strange creatures that are free of traditional human prejudice. It is a genesis point, a veritable human reset button. His influence ranges from ancient & modern history, literary history, art history, pop culture history, world headlines and personal experiences. He tells the story of what we can be as a species, regardless of our cultural stature, skin colour, sexual orientation or religious convictions.

Andy Leleisi’uao’s work is included in the permanent collections of Pataka Museum and Art Gallery, Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, the Chartwell Collection, the Wallace Arts Trust collection, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney and the Museum of Ethnography, Frankfurt, Germany.

Andy Leleisi’uao grew up in Mangere, South Auckland.  His work is reflective of his experience as a New Zealand-born Samoan.

Andy was awarded a scholarship to attend AUT and received a Master of Fine Arts with honours in 2002. He has exhibited throughout New Zealand and has been involved in solo and group exhibitions in Australia, Rarotonga, Germany, Taiwan, and the USA.

In the late 1990s, Andy was awarded residencies at the Casula Powerhouse in Sydney, the MacMillian Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Canterbury, in 2009 the Asia NZ Foundation/Taipei Artist Village and recently McCahon House, Titirangi, 2010.  During these residencies Andy further developed works critiquing social, cultural, and political stereotypes and realities of Samoans in New Zealand from a New Zealand-born Samoan perspective.

His unique iconography included such symbols as sockets that have been imprinted on the foreheads of struggling Samoan factory worker migrants in his Mangere community. Some works condemn abuse within the Samoan community as well as hypocrisy by church leaders. However, there is also a playful and hopeful side to his work which can be seen in through his Ufological paintings, a series of fantasy villages on an island where villagers ride moa and climb over hearts while spaceships import megalithic moai from Rapanui. Whether he is confronting the issues of Samoan diaspora or narratives of human and family relationships, “Andy’s prescient talent for seeing who we are, what we are like and what we do is a signature of his art.” (Ron Brownson 2009)

Andy Leleisi’uao’s work is included in the permanent collections of Pataka Museum and Art Gallery, Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, the Chartwell Collection, the Wallace Arts Trust collection, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney and the Museum of Ethnography, Frankfurt, Germany.

2009 – The Malo Conversations – Blackmail Press, New Zealand Poets Online.
           Kamoan Mine with K. Higgins, Space Between Journal, Hawai’i.
          Captain Kirk in the South Pacific – Art News New Zealand, pg 72.
          Andy Leleisi’uao, Essays by R. Brownson/Dr. P. Zeplin. Whitespace.
2008 – Submission in FIKA, Pasefika Writers Group, Christchurch.

2002 – MA in Art and Design, First Class Honours, AUT, Auckland.

2017 – Paramount Award, Wallace Arts Trust.
2013 – Artist in Residence, Bridge Guard, Sturovo, Slovakia.
            CNZ funding towards exhibition and writing of Le Tumau.
2012 – Artist in Residence, Uni-tech, Auckland.
2011 – CNZ funding to towards group exhibition in London, England.
            Wallace Arts Trust Funding towards solo exhibition, New York, USA.
2010 – Team McMillan BMW Finalist Art Awards, Newmarket, Auckland.
            Artist in Residence, McCahon House, Titirangi, Auckland.
            CNZ funding to travel within Taiwan and to Hong Kong.
            Artist in Residence, Taipei Artist Village, Taiwan.
2009 – Artist in Residence, BCA, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
            CNZ funding towards solo exhibition, Chelsea, New York, USA.
2008 – CNZ funding towards Le Onoeva – Misunderstood Aitu catalogue.
            Research Scholarship, M B Centre, Ilam University, Canterbury.
2006 – Charles Southwell Award, Association of Rationalists & Humanists.
            CNZ funding towards solo exhibition at Whitespace, Auckland.
2001 – CNZ funding towards solo exhibition, Salamander Gallery, Christchurch.
            CNZ funding towards solo exhibition, Salamander Gallery, Christchurch.
            Recipient of the James Wallace Post Graduate Award
2000 – CNZ funding towards solo exhibition at Dowse Museum, Wellington.
            First recipient of AUT School of Art and Design Pasifika Scholarship.
1999 – Artist in Residence, M B Centre, Ilam University, Canterbury.
1998 – First recipient of Martin Hughes Interior Architects Travel Grant.
            Artist in Residence, Casula Powerhouse, Liverpool, Sydney Australia.
            Funding from the Australian Arts Council for a Residency in Sydney.
1997 – CNZ funding towards solo exhibition at Pumphouse Gallery, Auckland.
            Certificate of Appreciation, Mayor of Manukau for supporting local arts.
1996 – CNZ funding to travel to the Sixth Festival of Arts in Samoa.
1995 – Merit Award, Pumphouse Art Awards, Pumphouse Gallery, Auckland.
            CNZ funding towards solo exhibition at Mangere Arts Centre, Manukau.
1994 – Artist in Residence, Mangere Community Arts Centre, Mangere.

2019 – Kamoan Mine, Hastings City Art Gallery, Hastings.
            An Unwished Heart, Franklin Arts Centre, Pukekohe.
            Diasporic Pulse, Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
            Dispersed Humanoids, PG192 Gallery, Christchurch.
            Embryonic Uslands, Milford Galleries, Dunedin.
            Kamoan Mine, Wallace Art Gallery, Morrisville.
            Kamoan Mine, The Pah Homestead, Auckland.
2018 – Diasporic Pulse, ISCP Open Day, Brooklyn, New York.
            A Clouded Diaspora, Milford Galleries, Queensland.
            Mar Mangere Aroha, Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
2017 – Samoa mo Samoa, Mangere Town Centre, Auckland.
            An Unlovely Sorry, Fresh Gallery, Auckland
            UFO Islands, Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
            Homonoia People, PG192 Gallery, Christchurch.
            Ufological Islands, 12 Gallery, Auckland.
2016 – The Blue People, All Goods Gallery, Auckland.
            Ubiquitous People of Erodipolis, Milford Galleries, Dunedin.
2015 – Ghosts of a Second Samoan, MAC – Nga Tohu o Uenuku, Auckland.
            Quaint People of Nuanua, PG gallery 192, Christchurch.
            Atmosphere People of Moana, Milford Gallery, Dunedin.
            The Checkmate of Wild Rainbows, PP Gallery, Auckland.
2014 – Waking up to the Obsolete People, 12 Gallery, Auckland.
            Waking up to the Obscurity People, Te Uru Gallery, Auckland (3 days).
            Waking up to the Obscurity People, PP Gallery, Auckland.
            Waking up to the Oculus People, Milford Galleries, Queenstown.
            The Crucifixion Studies, Chambers241, Christchurch.
2013 – World of Trylapid, BCA Gallery, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
            The Choirs of Lupotea, Milford Galleries, Dunedin.
            Rubik Sunflowers, Bridge Guard Gallery, Sturovo, Slovakia.
            Rainbow You, Rainbow Me, Kaleidoszkop, Ezstergom, Hungary.
            Episades of Pino’nati, Auckland Art Fair, Auckland.
            Le Tumau, Whitespace, Auckland.
2012 – Imaginary Park, Snowhite Gallery, Uni-tech, Auckland.
            The Quixotic Cruxifiction of Iesu, Whitespace, Auckland.
            Olaga People, Cosset Café, Auckland.
            Immigrant Mind, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre, Auckland.
            Dandelion People, BCA Gallery, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
            Quasimodo Love, Papergraphica, Christchurch.
            Polyneitus Spring, Milford Galleries, Dunedin.
2011 – Op City, Whitespace, Auckland.
            World of Lemeads, ROAR! Gallery, Wellington.
            World of Erodipolis, Milford Galleries, Dunedin.
            Arytipidal, Blue Oyster, Dunedin.
            Ufological City, VOLTA, New York, USA.
2010 – Cryptid Illuminati, Whitespace, Auckland.
            Andy Leleisi’uao, McCahon House, Titirangi, Auckland.
            Wandering Through Pandemonium Quiet, COCA Gallery, Christchurch.
            Andy Leleisi’uao, Thistle Hall, Wellington.
            Andy Leleisi’uao, Taipei Artist Village, Taipei, Taiwan.
2009 – Asefeka of the Unmalosa, Kips Gallery, Chelsea, New York, USA.
            Areatures of the Arctaur People, BCA, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
            Anchored Violetus, Kermadec, Auckland.
            Le Onoeva – Misunderstood Aitu, Whitespace, Auckland.
            Mangere Aroha, Whitespace, Auckland. Aroha Mangere, Mangere People’s  Centre, Mangere, Manukau.
2008 – Andy Leleisi’uao, McCarthy Gallery, Auckland.
            Angipanis of the Abanimal People, Whitespace, Auckland.
2007 – Lost Kamoans of the Godly and Godless, Whitespace, Auckland.
2006 – Ballad of a Cheeky Darkie, Te Tuhi – The Mark, Pakuranga, Auckland.
            Catch a Sparkling Spirit, Salamander Gallery, Christchurch.
            I Need to See Alien, Whitespace, Auckland.
            Empowered Wallflower, Whitespace, Auckland.
2005 – We’re Not Black, Salamander Gallery, Christchurch.
            Cheeky Darkie, Whitespace, Auckland
2004 – The Ballad of Tinou’amea and Pepe, Whitespace, Auckland.
            Dressed to Kill, Salamander Gallery, Christchurch.
2003 – Tribute to Western Samoa, Salamander Gallery, Christchurch.
            The Umu Collection of Titles, Whitespace, Auckland.
2002 – Minoi, Minoi Mai, Salamander Gallery, Christchurch.
2001 – My Samoan Accent, Artstation Gallery, Ponsonby, Auckland.
            The Brown Corner, Salamander Gallery, Christchurch.
            Seta Blue, Mangere People’s Centre, Mangere, Manukau.
            Tired of Silence, Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, Wellington.
2000 – Polynesian Grotesques, Muka Studio, Ponsonby, Auckland.
            Crashed Presbyterian, Te Taumata Art Gallery, Auckland.
1999 – Patterns of My Lavalava, Ilam University, Christchurch.
1998 – Furious (with G. Hookey), Casula Powerhouse, Sydney, Australia.
            The Brownest Dawn, The Pumphouse, Takapuna, Auckland.
1997 – Selected Works, Pakuranga Cultural Centre, Pakuranga, Manukau.
            Waking Up To My Polynesian Spine, Aotea Centre, Auckland.
1996 – Selected Works, Aotea Centre, Auckland Central, Auckland.
1995 – Selected Works, Manurewa Nathan Homestead, Manukau.
            Selected Works, Papatoetoe Library, Manukau.
            Early Escapades, Mangere Community Arts Centre, Manukau.