East Toilolo


Bachelor of Visual Arts Painting Printmaking

My art practice explores the use of storytelling through patterns and other features that reflect my particular style and cultural identity. Overwrite embraces the concept of interwoven ties between culture and modern living by incorporating cultural aspects into my own personal work as a way of appreciating both my culture and my methods of expressing it.

The word identity is significant as it refers to who you actually are. When it comes to establishing my art practice, my cultural identity has been at the heart of my ability to learn and create representations along the road of storytelling. I was able to explore and learn how our people used pattern systems linked to Samoa through my practice. Specifically, I chose the weave pattern which is often seen in everyday Samoan life, from ie toga (fine mats), ili (hand held fans) to tatau (tattoos). Throughout the paintings of Overwrite this pattern is repeated, illustrating how my culture and I are closely interwoven. It also serves as a never-ending reminder of who I am.

Fatu Feu’u who is well-known for his incorporation of traditional Samoan patterns and themes in his artwork has influenced my work. “I’ve taken the traditional art form and brought it into the contemporary, to today, and somebody else can take it to tomorrow. It’s a way of keeping our art alive”.1 These words made me realise that a transformative but essential component of Feu'u's work is a visualisation and reflection of our own stories and patterns, followed by the expression of those tales and patterns via art as a way of keeping our stories alive. This thinking is evident in Overwrite. As an artist, I wanted to add more components that resonated with me and represented my own personal experience in the piece. For instance, trees, flowers, chains, eyes, and words are all examples. Each of these elements has a unique significance that is very personal to me and my life story.

The font and letters used in Overwrite spring from experience and my personal artistic vocabulary of lines, dashes and shapes. This font was used as an expression, rather than clear and concise words, and has been introduced into my paintings. In my artworks, the beauty of the letters, their form and shape, and their hidden meanings become the focal point, grabbing viewers' attention and leading them to discover what’s underneath. To a degree, Overwrite was a tribute to the past while still embracing my own personal style. I wish to further convey my passion and respect for my culture as well as my own journey of reflection via my art practice and to utilise my platform as an artist to express this.

1) "Fatu Feu'u Archives - BERGMAN GALLERY". 2021. BERGMAN GALLERY. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://bergmangallery.co.ck/product-category/fatu-feuu/.