The preservation of my cultural heritage is deeply rooted in my work. The passing down of traditional carving from generation to generation has allowed me to share a body of work that defines my art.
to traditional ceremonies in Tonga. The islands are rich in tradition, each handed down from father to son. My father showed me many carving techniques using such images as the koru; however it would be decades until I tried my own hand at carving.
In the Polynesian culture, the koru––or spiraling fern frond–– symbolizes birth or new beginning. Maori carvers use this design to represent harmony, peace, tranquility, as well as an awakening to life.
During my BFA and MFA experience at Utah State University, I was taken back to the images of the koru. In my body of work, I used this symbol in representation of not only my culture, but the connection I feel to family, to life, and to my heritage.
Evaluating the natural form of the stone, I look for lines and shapes that create flow and continuity, much like the koru. Once carving, I allow spontaneity and creativity to guide me. Influenced by the patterns of Koru, each sculpture I create is fashioned to be both visually balanced and harmonious.
As a young boy raised on the island of Tonga, I was surrounded by native Polynesian artwork. My father and uncle are both well known wood carvers. They taught me the importance of cultural art which is represented in everything from clothing, to furniture,