Dunedin based Samoan artist Ana Teofilo Returns to Paradise and Peace

Emerging artist Ana Teofilo’s exhibition “Return to Paradise and Peace” can be viewed from Tuesday 13th of June until Saturday 1st of July at the Warwick Henderson Gallery, in Newmarket Auckland. Despite living and creating art in Dunedin, far removed from what is considered the South Pacific art hub of Auckland, Teofilo says her work is firmly based around her traditional Samoan heritage.



Ana Teofilo walks a tight rope between her Pacific culture and her South Island environment.


“My roots are firmly based around my traditional Samoan heritage, but here my identity is very much caught between two cultures.


For Ana, her birth place and upbringing is a positive point of difference that enables her to create artwork that is unique while traditional.


“My advantage is the fact that I’m not from Auckland.


“The culture, the people, the environment itself is totally different from Auckland and this is reflected in my paintings.”


Teofilo, who graduated with a Bachelor of visual Arts in 2013 and a Masters in 2015 from Otago Polytechnic, uses a unique practice that it involves carving each work, under and over-painting, before encompassing the imagery with glue dots.


The glue dots, a nod to aboriginal art, are opaque but reflect the base and surrounding colours to enhance the three dimensional effects of the carving.


Traditionally, Samoan carving is usually carried out by men with the Tapa-making finished by women.



However Teofilo’s carved pattern making for Tapa is referenced and rendered by herself in her series of work.


Samoan heritage and traditional Siapo art forms, the uniqueness and strength of this new series of work bring a breath of fresh air to the Pacifica genre of art in New Zealand.


“There are traditional/pacific symbols seen in my art, but there is also my Dunedin influence for example, my painting styles and technique which contributes to the overall Pacific art in NZ.


“I feel my contribution to the overall landscape of Pacific arts in NZ is that I bring Pacific art from the Deep South.”


Ana’s hope is that her contribution puts the South Island pacific art scene on the NZ map while also encouraging other emerging Pacific artists in the South Island.


She wants to show them that, “they do not need to be from Auckland to follow their passion or express themselves as a Pacific artist”.


Ana Teofilo’s Exhibition opens with a preview on Tuesday 13th June and is on view until Saturday 1st July 2017, at the Warwick Henderson Gallery, Level 1, 255 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland.