Sēmisi’s Manuesina – White Angel will be looking for a home in the west

    Tongan Architect, multi media artist and sculptor Sēmisi Potauaine  would still like to find a home for his sculpture Manuesina -White Angel, in West Auckland if the Headlands Sculpture on the Gulf will not station it in Waiheke.

    Potauaine, who is of Tongan descent, was chosen to exhibit the 4.5 tonne piece at this year’s Waiheke Island sculpture festival.

    As Kaniva News reported last July, the sculpture, whose Tongan name, Manuesina, translates as White Angel or White Bird, draws on traditional Pacific but specificallyTongan traditional philosophy and geometric forms.

    It cost around $NZ60,000 to fabricate and install

    The work, whose colour symbolises purity and the global spirit, was one of the 34 finalists chosen from 250 entries.

    Last year, he said he would like somebody to buy the sculpture and bring it to the western suburbs if Waiheke doesn’t take her.

    “It would be best suited for a place like Piha,” he told the Western Leader. Sēmisi later added that anywhere with some coastal context would best suit.

    He would still like that to happen, but for the moment, White Bird is in the care of the curators.

    Potauaine said the piece was designed specifically for the Waiheke exhibition with the Waiheke context in mind.

    He said he would have produced a different work if it had been originally displayed in West Auckland.

    He said each sculpture was a unique work for a unique place. An original piece for each orginal setting would make all the difference for the artist.

    “But I expect the work would still be quite happy here,” he said.

    Potauaine, who is associated with various university’s Architecture and Design programmes, is internationally recognised for his work. He also has some extensive publications in books, book chapters and journals either solo or in collaboration with others.

    In 2010 his work was the subject of the book Tatau: Fenāpasi ‘o e Fepaki’ (Tatau: Symmetry, Harmony and Beauty) in which contributors from  a diverse range of fields examined the philosophy behind his work.

    His work is based on the tā-vā theory of reality, which encompasses Tongan concepts of tā  that translates time and vā, that translates to space. For Potauaine, ta va theory offers an alternative notion of reality. It differs from western philosophy by seeing the world in four dimensions instead of three.

    The artist, who recently co-published an article on Tongan philosophy, whose output ranges across a number of fields,  from health to anthropology, weaving and tattooing to graphic design, said he valued relationships dearly.

    “It seems,  new ideas have to be categorised to be consumed. Sadly, if it does not register, then it is being forced into the wrong category,” he said.

    “But really, I hope we are all making some contribution.”

    “If an art piece is a reflection of the artist, then I can agree that art then is an expression of an artist’s ideas .

    “This how I communicate.”

    The main points

    • Sculptor Semisi Potauaine would like to find a home for his sculpture Manuesina, in West Auckland.
    • Potauaine, who is of Tongan descent, was chosen to exhibit the 4.5 tonne piece at this year’s Waiheke Island sculpture festival.
    • Last year, he said he would like somebody to buy the sculpture and bring it to the western suburbs if Waiheke doesn’t take her.He would still like that to happen, but for the moment, Manuesina is in the care of the curators.

    For more information 

    Tongan patterns and philosophy shape towering sculpture for Waiheke Island

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