Tongan artist’s work is “unique,” “beautiful”

    An exhibition of acrylic painting by a South Auckland-based artist has been described as “unique,” “beautiful” and “new” according to a leading Tongan art scholar and academic.

    Benjamin Works, who is of Tongan and Scottish heritage, showed his work at the Mangere Arts Centre in a public exhibition entitled For the King and Country, that ran from October 16 to November 21.

    Works mainly painted on board using red and black acrylic paints. The colours are particularly used in Tongan material arts and fine arts.

    Professor Hufanga ‘Okusitino Mahina, an acclaimed art scholar and artist in his own right,  said the two acrylic colours were prominent in the arts of kafa kula (red sennit) and kafa ‘uli (black sennit)  and kele ‘umea (clay) and vaitohi ‘uli (black ink) used in pottery and koka’anga (ngatu making).

    Professor Hufanga said Works’ art portrayed the same conflicting, but beautiful, ideas that were embedded by Tongan artists in the past when decorating their wooden weapons such as clubs, arrows and bows.

    They were also found in the Tongan music instruments such as tukipitu (hitting the bamboo on the ground so it can produce sound), blowing mouth-organs, drumming and blowing fangufangu (nose flutes).

    According to Professor Hufanga, Works has successfully transferred these ideas into his paintings such as The Guardian, The Explorer, King and Country, Sign of Times and Ikai ke tapu (Not Taboo).

    Professor Hufanga opened Work’s exhibition by blowing the fangufangu. This was followed by an opening speech by the Director of the Mangere Arts Centre, James Pinker.

    The main points

    • An exhibition of acrylic  painting by a South Auckland-based artist has been described as “unique”, “beautiful” and “new” according to a leading Tongan art scholar and academic.
    • Benjamin Works, who is of Tongan and Scottish heritage, showed his work at the Mangere Arts Centre in a public exhibition entitled: For the King and Country, that ran from October 16 to November 21.
    • Works mainly painted on board using red and black acrylic paint. The colours are particularly used in Tongan material arts and fine arts.
    • Professor Hufanga ‘Okusitino Mahina said Works’ art portrayed the same conflicting, but beautiful, ideas that were embedded by Tongan artists in the past.

    For more information

    For King and Country (Artweek)

    Exhibition opening (Mangare Arts Centre)

    1 COMMENT

    1. Na’e fakamatalaʻi ʻoku makehe pea foʻou mo fakaʻofoʻofa a e tā valivali ʻa ha tangata ʻātisi Tonga nofo Saute ʻAokalani ʻe he taha e kau Taki Muʻa he malaʻe ʻo e ako fakaʻatamaí mo e ʻātí.

      Na’e lava lelei hono fakaava ‘a e faka’ali’ali ‘aati ‘ae tangata ‘ātisi Tonga ko Benjamin Work he fale faka’ali’ali ‘aati Mangere Arts Centre ‘i Mangere ‘i ‘Aokalani Aotearoa Nu’usila he efiafi Falaite ‘aho 16 ‘o ‘Okatopa 2015.

      Naʻe fakahingoa ‘a e faka’ali’ali ‘aati ni koe, “For King and Country,” ‘o liliu fakaTonga koe, “Ma’ae Tu’i moe Fonua.” ‘Oku lele ‘ae faka’ali’ali ‘aati ni mei he ‘aho Tokonaki 17 ‘o ‘Okatopa, ‘o toki tapuni he ‘aho Tokonaki 21 ‘o Novema, 2015.

      Fakatatau ki he lau ʻa Palōfesa Hufanga ʻŌkusitino Māhiná: ‘Oku tefito ‘a e ngaue faka’aati ‘a Benjamin he tufunga tavalivali (material art of painting), ‘aia ‘oku ne lahi ngaue’aki ‘ae vali lolo moe papa (acrylic on board).

      ‘Oku meimei ke lahi ‘ene ngaue’aki ‘ae vali kula moe vali ‘uli, ‘aia koe ongo lanu tefito ia ‘oku ngaue’aki he tufunga (material arts) moe nimamea’a (fine arts), ‘o hange ko hono ngaue’aki ‘ae kafa kulla moe kafa ‘uli he tufunga lalava, kele kula (pe ‘umea) moe vaitohi ‘uli he tufunga ngaohikulo moe koka kula moe tongo ‘uli he nimamea’a koka’anga.

      Pehē foki ʻe Palōfesa Hūfangá kuo hoko ‘a e ngaahi kupesi fihi mo faka’ofo’ofa ‘oku tātongitongi he ngaahi me’atau/’akautau, ‘o hange povai, tao moe ‘akaufana moe ngahau, moe ngaahi me’afakafaiva, ‘o hange ko e povai, tukipitu, mimiha, lali, nafa moe fangufangu, he ngaahi me’a ‘oku fakatupu fakakaukau kia Benjamin, ‘aia ‘oku ne vali ‘ene ngaahi fakatātaá he fōtunga fo’ou, makehe mo toe faka’ofo’ofa, ‘o hangē ko e ni’ihi ‘ene ngāue tāvalivali ko e “The Guardian,” “The Explorer,” “King and Country,” “Sign of the times” moe “‘Ikai ke Tapu.”

      Na’e fakaava’aki ‘ae polokalma ha tafangufangu moe lea ‘a Palofesa Hufanga Dr ‘Okusitino Mahina, fai ‘ehe Talekita Pule ‘e Mangere Arts ko James Pinker ‘ae lea talitali moe fakafe’iloka, pea toki fai ‘e Benjamin ‘ae lea fakafofonga ‘oe ‘atisi ha’ana ‘ae faka’ali’ali ‘aati. Na’e fai ‘ehe “Tame’a Fangufangu Minoa ‘o Tonga”/”Minor Sound Nose-flute of Tonga” ‘ae fakame’ite ‘oe matanga moe katoanga faka’ali’ali ‘aati, ‘o kau ai ‘a Tu’ifonualava Kaivelata, Sefita Hao’uli, Kalino Latu mo Palofesa Hufanga.

      ‘Oku pōlepole mo laukau ‘a Benjamin hono konga Tonga, ‘a ia ko ‘ene fa’e mei he kolo ‘iloa ko Tu’anekivale ‘i Vava’u mo ‘ene tamai mei vahefonua tala ko Sikotilani ‘i Pilitania, pea ‘oku ne toho ma’u pe ‘ae ongo hingoa koe “Tu’i Vava’u” pe “Tu’i Matoto” he ngaahi ha’ofanga moe ouau fakamatapule he’ene ma’uhinga’ia hono tukufakaholo mo hono Tonga, ‘o hange tofu pe koe hingoa malie mo ma’uhinga ‘ene faka’ali’ali ‘aati koe, “Ma’ae Tu’i moe Fonua,” he lea Tonga, pe “For King and Country,” he lea ‘Ingilisi.

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