Salome Tanuvasa

Wonder

08 - 24 June 2023

Salome Tanuvasa’s parents’ East Auckland garden is filled with plants and food from the Pacific Islands. 

Inspired by this garden, and by ideas of home and connection, Tanuvasa is creating an ongoing series of recycled fabric banners which have been appliquéd with motifs of fruit, flowers, leaves and seeds.

Alongside the textiles, which were originally shown at Hastings City Art Gallery’s “To be at home” exhibition curated by Sophie Davis, the artist is presenting a suite of small gestural paintings on canvas.

In her Hastings exhibition notes Davis suggests that “in using textiles, the artist is interested in speaking directly to the work of women like her mother, a seamstress. Her banners are an offshoot of a restless, multidisciplinary art practice. They are not about craft as much as labour and joy – within and beyond the domestic realm.”

In a recent conversation with Rosie Dawson-Hughes of ‘Ensemble’ magazine, Tanuvasa explains further:

“My parents are my inspiration. My father is from Samoa and my mother is from Tonga, both migrated to New Zealand in the ‘70s.

They are strong individuals who
left their homes and families to seek a better life in Aotearoa.”

“My mother worked as a seamstress at ‘Line 7’ and I grew up with industrial sewing  machines  and  piles  of  garments  in  large  yellow plastic containers at home. 

My mum said that for extra pocket-money she would agree to complete orders at home, after hours,and at weekends after finishing her weekday shifts.

I remember waiting to pick her up from work and going into her job and seeing the rows of sewing machines.


To be honest, I think the real artists are people who create opportunities for their families and loved ones.

Learning a skill like sewing and providing for your family is love …
and to highlight this within a gallery context sits within the realm of fine art.”

Whether they were painted late at night, or hand-stitched in the stolen hours between Tanuvasa’s full-time job as a secondary school art teacher and being a mother  herself,  these  elegantly  gestural, deceptively casual, formally beautiful artworks can be seen as a tribute to hard work and the artist’s mother’s sacrifices.

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
poplin fabric and cotton
1670mm x 2910mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
poplin fabric and cotton (detail)
1670mm H x 2910mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
poplin fabric and cotton (detail)
1670mm H x 2910mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Soul
2023
poplin fabric and cotton
1650mm H x 1990mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Soul
2023
poplin fabric and cotton (detail)
1650mm H x 1990mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Soul
2023
poplin fabric and cotton (detail)
1650mm H x 1990mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Regrowing
2023
poplin fabric and cotton
1640mm H x 1960mm H

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Salome Tanuvasa
Regrowing
2023
poplin fabric and cotton (detail)
1640mm H x 1960mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Regrowing
2023
poplin fabric and cotton (detail)
1640mm H x 1960mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Warm
2023
acrylic on canvas
500mm H x 500mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Dark Orange
2023
acrylic on canvas
450mm H x 350mm W
PRIVATE COLLECTION

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Salome Tanuvasa
Mid
2023
acrylic on canvas
500mm H x 400mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Light Purple
2023
acrylic on canvas
300mm H x 300mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Yes
2023
acrylic on canvas
500mm H x 400mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
W
2023
acrylic on canvas
450mm H x 350mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Ochre
2023
acrylic on canvas
450mm H x 350mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Outside
2023
acrylic on canvas
400mm H x 400mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Memory
2023
acrylic on canvas
500mm H x 500mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Sky
2023
acrylic on canvas
500mm H x 500mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Dad's Necklace / Blue
2023
acrylic on canvas
400mm H x 400mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Welcome
2023
acrylic on canvas
500mm H x 400mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Home
2023
acrylic on canvas
500mm H x 400mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Untitled
2022
acrylic on canvas
1000mm H x 950mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Dirt
2023
acrylic on canvas
350mm H x 300mm W

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Salome Tanuvasa
Wonder
2023
Installation view

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Salome Tanuvasa
Untitled
2021
acrylic on canvas
2000mm H x 2100mm W