Maka Tu’u Taha

Two contemporary Tongan artists will open an exhibition of new paintings at Manukau’s Fresh Gallery Otara this week.Maka Tu’u Taha is a joint exhibition by two New Zealand-based Tongan artists, Kulimoe’anga Maka (Stone) and Samiu Napa’a.

The exhibition responds to recent events in Tonga, with the artists acknowledging the first anniversary of the passing of Tonga’s late King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV.

Although the artists have both exhibited widely in New Zealand, they admit there are very few exhibitions focosing on contemporary Tongan art.

Maka, who is currently based in Christchurch, is also well-known as a sculptor. He began working as an artist whilst still in Tonga holding exhibitions and completing several murals in Tongatapu and Ha’apai before coming to New Zealand in 1998.

Maka has exhibited in Manukau since 1998 when he held his first New Zealand solo exhibition. He met Napa’a while studying at Whitecliffe College of Art & Design in Auckland and again at Manukau School of Visual Arts where both artists majored in painting.

“These new paintings are striking and beautiful and really make an impact,” says Pacific Arts Coordinator Ema Tavola. “Fresh Gallery Otara is proud to host these two dynamic artists and continue our promotion of Pacific artists,” she added.

The artists will be present at the opening where a limited edition catalogue will be available, featuring a curatorial essay by fellow Tongan-New Zealand academic Charmaine Ilaiu, currently studying to complete a Masters of Architecture at the University of Auckland.

Maka Tu’u Taha has received generous support from the Manukau School of Visual Arts and Melie-Mei-Langi Money Transfer in Otahuhu. Fresh Gallery Otara is an arts facility owned and operated by Manukau City Council.

Exhibition Opening: 6-8pm, Thursday 6 September
Exhibition Dates: 7-29 September 2007
Venue: Fresh Gallery Otara, Otara Town Centre, Manukau City, New Zealand