Diva Leiataua

Plastic leis and loops 2021

Bachelor of Visual Arts Craft Mixed Media Sculpture Art & Technology Craft Material Thinking Performativity
AD21 Award
BC Collective Award
For a student working with Indigenous Aotearoa/Pasifika Contexts

Hug and Loops

My practice is one of alofa and cultural knowledge, which is based on the Samoan lei. I learned to make plastic lei where Gafa (genealogy) is passed down from my Grandmother. I also accumulate and incorporate ideas from contemporary craft, resourcefulness, and conversations about materiality. Sharing stories and cultural knowledge have been key to my process of making.

My work Hug is a series of lei, made from reusable white and blue plastic bags constructed in the shape of flowers, that are joined together as one. This idea of sharing stories and the cultural knowledge of lei-making has been key to my process of making. Loops is made from polyester string, string, plastics, and yarn. Each different coloured loop is finger knitted together. The loops are repetitive acts that reflect on Gafa, where my Grandmother’s stories are shared and linked through this act of making. This connection is important in my work because it has opened my thinking on materiality and its process.

Hug and Loops are installed outdoors in my own garden and backyard where nature and plastic contrast. Plastic lasts, whereas flowers, plants, leaves whither over time. The artworks are also installed in my domestic surroundings such as windows, walls, and doors of my home. These objects have become playful to work with. I have combined them into an instructional video, passing down knowledge through the process of making and recording. This video has impacted my thinking concerning the making of Samoan lei. Connecting to community, relationships, and participatory acts plays an important role within my practice.