Vanya Taule'alo – Artist in Samoa

August 12, 2011

a blue true dream of sky – photography by Rachel Nankivell opening at The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery 17th-31st August

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a blue true dream of sky is a solo exhibition by New Zealand photographer Rachel Nankivell, opening at The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery on 17th August.

Taking you beyond a quiet stroll in the garden, these photographs encapsulate something of the unique persona of flowers, inviting curiousity while engaging one in a moment both intimate and surprising. They invite you to step closer, tilt your head in puzzlement, and delight in your exploration as mystery unfolds.

Rachel has been making photographs since childhood. Her father and grandfather were both keen photographers, so she grew up holding Box Brownies and Polaroid cameras, naturally using them as a different set of eyes to view life, a way of focusing the myriad of detail down into a viewfinder rectangle, in order to see life one image at a time.

Rachel came to Samoa in 2010, accompanying partner Peter Zwart, who holds the position of NZAID Manager at the NZ High Commission. They have four children, who delight in a life free of Wellington’s southerlies, filled with creativity and outdoor play. Rachel says:

“Moving to Samoa has offered my family the chance to explore a new land and culture, strengthening our understanding and connection with the Samoan people. I believe the experience nurtures our children’s future as well, as we enjoy such a multi-cultural society in Aotearoa. I am sure they will hold the Samoan culture, in particular, close to their hearts as they grow.

“Often it is the children who lead me to the subjects I photograph – they are my hunters and gatherers, leading me to particularly interesting streams of light, glistening flowers, or peculiar insects. They skip into my studio with birds’ nests, lizard eggs, huge seed pods, sweet posies and rusty leaves. They are my inspiration. And when I am away from them, with my camera slung around my neck, waiting for my next image to reveal itself, I do as they would, I become curious and playful, I get down on my knees and climb up high and twirl around a little, very quietly … it works beautifully – the magic is unveiled, the image created!”

It is this sense of magic that shines through the macro floral images Rachel has created for this exhibition, celebrating the abundantly vibrant life of flowers in Samoa, while also giving a glimpse towards Aotearoa, represented in her images from a summer photography shoot in Otago earlier this year.

“The opportunity to exhibit my images at The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery is an example of the generosity of people here, and the interest expressed in each other’s talents and visions. In Aotearoa I worked with my local arts community, facilitating community art projects, and managing a community art gallery, working to bring connection and collaboration within the arts community, and to promote the importance of the arts as a way to share stories, learn, and celebrate. It is, therefore, particularly exciting for me to exhibit at this pioneering gallery, and to support its growth. The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery will provide a supportive launchpad for emerging Samoan artists, as well as an important venue for international and local established artists, and vital connections with the international arts community.”

a blue true dream of sky will show from 17 to 31 August at The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery, Si’usega, Apia. Contact 777-2993 or 21488 for opening hours and other enquiries.



Reflections of Samoa exhibtion – artist Karina Fay – opening at the Vanya Taule’alo Gallery August 17- 24th

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Reflections of Samoa Exhibition with artist and designer Karina Fay – at The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery


This is the second trip to Samoa for New Zealand artist Karina Fay – the first time was with her family for a christmas holiday at the end of 2008.  This time she is back over here with her husband Brendan  to exhibit her artwork Reflections of Samoa at The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery in Si’usega and to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversay – at the beautiful Seabreeze Resort on the south coast of Upolu.   A place she has dreamed of returning to since their first holiday in Samoa.

Wanting to exhibit in Samoa, Karina contacted artist Dr Vanya Taule’alo in March with the possibility of exhibiting artwork in her newly opened gallery and  studio in Si’usega, Apia .  She was delighted to be accepted as a guest artist and this is her first solo exhibition. Karina views Samoa as a wonderful country to showcase her artwork, she looks forward to the opportunity of meeting with and talking to other local artists and designers and hopes to see many of them at her gallery opening.

Reflections of Samoa has been inspired by time spent in Samoa, the natural beauty of the landscape and special people she  met along the way. Karina reflects that

“Samoa is a delightful country like no other and  has a deep spirit that embraces the heart.”  She adds,

“I have been touched by the lifestyle,  the culture,  the generosity and acceptance I felt from the Samoan people”.

The works exhibited in the Reflections of Samoa Exhibition reflect Karina’s journey and experiences of the land and the sea. She is in awe of the colours and natural beauty of the Samoan landscape and vegetation. At the same time she finds inspiration in the harsh and hostile landscape of the lava fields of Savaii. Karina was made aware of the vulnerability of island nations and their exposure to increasing changing and violent weather patterns. She captures these events in artworks that show a swirling and changing landscape devastated by storms. Her works depict her personal response to Samoan culture, the people, the natural environment, and how the laughter, love and life stand firm within the spirit of the Samoan people no matter what happens.

June 29, 2011

Nuanua- Arc en Ciel Group Exhibiton, 21st July – 21st August at The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery

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Once again The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery is having an amazing exhibtion of three well known Pacific artists. Fatu Feu’u born in Samoa, has lived and built his art career in New Zealand and is one of the leading Pacific artists in the region. His exciting and dramatic works in this show show hope for the future of Samoa after the Tsunami in Samoa in 2009. Isabelle Staron-Tutugoro lives between New Caledonia and New Zealand and her wonderful paintings and prints reflect on aspects of family and hope for the future. Vanya’s new works based on her response to the Tsunami of 29/09/2009 have taken a long time to develop as it is such an emotional theme. She uses real objects collected from Tsunami sites vshe visited on 30/09/2009 and incorporates them into mutlimedia works.

2011 Monoprint

Potasi Tsunami

February 13, 2011

The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery inaugural exhibition

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The Togo series

These paintings are from body of work, Togo Samoa. Inspired by the mangroves of Samoa, I use the mangroves forests to address issues relating to Climate Change. I am greatly concerned about the environment and see mangroves as one of our most vulnerable, fragile and at risk ecosystems, yet they are one of our most important environments. With the increasing numbers of tropical storms and extreme global events such as tsunamis the mangroves are a vital protective buffer between the land and the ocean. They also play a critical role in the life cycle of many species, providing nursery and permanent homes for a wide range of Samoan fauna and flora; some common others threatened or endangered.

Mangrove forests are found between the sea and land and are well adapted to diverse conditions. They protect the coastal areas, provide the breeding grounds for marine biodiversity and wildlife and act as an excellent storage for carbon. Mangrove wetlands have provided both protection and food to our island communities and contribute extensively to inter-reef food sources.

The rapid destruction and degradation of the mangrove habitats and estuaries should be of major concern to the Samoan people. These unique ecosystems are threatened by human development endangering these declining habitats. The effects of climate change, sea level rise, erosion, salinity changes and sand mining have damaged the mangroves and coastal ecosystem. Growing numbers of people on the coastal areas have continued to put pressure on mangrove wetlands. Dumping rubbish and reclamation of the swamps for development is irreversibly destroying the mangrove forests. Factories also pollute the mangroves by discharging their waste directly in to them, causing destruction of the mangrove environments.

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The opening of The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery on Wednesday February 9th 2011.

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We had a wonderful cocktail party to celebrate the opening of my gallery this week, attended by the Hon. Ministers of Environment, Natural Resources and Meterology the MInister of Women Community & Social Development, the New Zealand High Commission and wife and Deputy NZHC and wife and other guests. The guests included indivuals and friends interested in the arts and the development of projects such as this in Samoa where people and tourists can visit the artist in her/his working and living environment. Fabulous food was provided by the Orator Hotel with the bulk of it being vegetarian. Wine, beer  juices and great cold T2 herbal teas delighted guests. In spite of the fact that its been raining solidly in Samoa for over 4 weeks the evening went beautifully and guests were able to enjoy being on the deck outside the gallery looking onto our tropical lush garden. 

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December 17, 2010

Alternative Connection

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I have found the blog very testing to use so I have also set up a page attached to my Facebook page where I shall post new works, events and comments. Feel free to visit it. The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery

The Togo Series works based on Samoan Mangroves and issues of Climate Change

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The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery

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March 5, 2010

Between Two Worlds – Entre Deux Mondes @ Salamander Gallery NZ

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February 1, 2010

Salamander gallery exhibition – ground broken for gallery at Siusega.

Filed under: 2009 blogs — vanyataulealo @ 1:19 am

I am on the count down for getting my images completed and packed for my upcoming trip to New Zealand. The exhibition opens Feb 15th at the Salamander gallery in Christchurch. I am showing with Fatu and Isabelle and I hope it goes well. This is a parred down version of my gafa work for the PhD and is all photo image based. I will post photos when the show is up. In the meantime the tape is around the area designated for the gallery construction and fill arrives tomorrow to level the ground and its happening. This is really exciting for me.

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