Women Artists of Samoa Open ‘Backbone’ Art Exhibition at Manamea Gallery

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VAIGAGA, SAMOA – 10 March 2021 – Manamea Art Studio launched its ‘Backbone’ art exhibition at Manamea Gallery in Vaigaga where twelve local artists will showcase new artworks exploring the theme of the exhibition: ‘Backbone’.

Speaking on this theme at the opening were dynamic guest speakers – fautasi skipper Vaimasenuu Zita Martel, and bestselling author Lani Wendt Young.

Gallery Co-Director, artist and ‘Backbone’ curator, Nikki Mariner brings together many of the artists who featured in Samoa’s 2019 inaugural women’s group exhibition.

These include established artists Momoe Malietoa Von Reiche and Vanya Taulealo, alongside Jill Stanley, Donna Kamu, Nadya Vaa, and Angel Voigt. Leutogi Hoeflich Falevaai and Wendy Percival will join the women’s exhibition for the first time, and the three artists making their exhibition debut are Sialei Viali, Rosaiviti Solomona and Tiffany Fepuleai.

“I chose ‘Backbone’ as a theme worthy of exploration for two reasons: firstly women are often referred to as the backbone of the family or an organisation. And secondly, the hardships that the world is currently living through because of the pandemic has required everybody to have resilience, courage, adaptability, and strong backbones in order to survive.“ Nikki Mariner, Curator.

Through visual art, the exhibition hopes to  inspire strength, provoke reflection, and encourage empathy with diverse interpretations of the ‘Backbone’ theme.  These range from artists considering the backbone as a significant person in their lives, to contemplating the natural environment as the backbone of our planet.

Others explore the merits of backbone as a character trait, or the definitions of being the backbone as a role in life.

This exhibition is significant in that it places women as the main event in a gallery space.

“In Samoa, women’s creativity is easily found in domestic spaces,  homes, church floral arrangements, music and performance art, fashion, and traditional arts like weaving and making siapo. Artistic women are also commonly found teaching or behind the scenes in administrative roles.  Women artists own or co-own every private gallery in Samoa. International female artists are featured regularly in galleries here. Yet this is only the second time that local women artists come together in a gallery space to bring fine art to the public. It’s my personal mission to make space for more women to make a career in fine art in Samoa.” Nikki Mariner.

The exhibition is open to the public with free admission. Most works will be available to purchase.

The exhibition runs through until 22nd March 2021. Gallery hours are 11am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 12pm to 3pm Saturday and closed on Sunday.

Manamea Art Studio & Gallery is privately owned by Lalovai Peseta and Nikki Mariner and was founded in 2014. Located on the main road at Vaigaga, the studio specialises in bespoke contemporary Polynesian design in the modes of carving, tattooing and painting. It is a design studio, painting studio, tattooing studio and art gallery. It is the only independent art studio in Samoa that employs full time artists who focus on select group projects and individual commissions for local and international clients.