Story: Tongans

New art by Tongan New Zealanders (1st of 2)

New art by Tongan New Zealanders

This 2004 work, ‘Atoms of earth’, is by the young Tongan artist Kulīmoe‘anga ‘Stone’ Maka. It was created by using smoke on canvas. This medium was a reference both to the death of his father from smoking when the artist was 12, and to the traditional smoked waist mats, designed by Tongan women to be worn only at funerals. Kulimoe‘anga Maka uses Tongan medicinal plants such as cabbage tree, sugar cane, paper mulberry and candlenut to produce the smoke and create different colours. In this way he sees his art as combining Tongan traditions with Western art practice.

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Smoke on canvas by Kulimoe'anga Maka

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How to cite this page:

Melenaite Taumoefolau, 'Tongans - Pacific Islands identity', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/1265/new-art-by-tongan-new-zealanders (accessed 25 November 2020)

Story by Melenaite Taumoefolau, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 25 Mar 2015