Tongan artist’s work is “unique,” “beautiful”

An exhibition of acrylic painting by a South Auckland-based artist has been described as “unique,” “beautiful” and “new” according to a leading Tongan art scholar and academic.

Benjamin Works, who is of Tongan and Scottish heritage, showed his work at the Mangere Arts Centre in a public exhibition entitled For the King and Country, that ran from October 16 to November 21.

Works mainly painted on board using red and black acrylic paints. The colours are particularly used in Tongan material arts and fine arts.

Professor Hufanga ‘Okusitino Mahina, an acclaimed art scholar and artist in his own right,  said the two acrylic colours were prominent in the arts of kafa kula (red sennit) and kafa ‘uli (black sennit)  and kele ‘umea (clay) and vaitohi ‘uli (black ink) used in pottery and koka’anga (ngatu making).

Professor Hufanga said Works’ art portrayed the same conflicting, but beautiful, ideas that were embedded by Tongan artists in the past when decorating their wooden weapons such as clubs, arrows and bows.

They were also found in the Tongan music instruments such as tukipitu (hitting the bamboo on the ground so it can produce sound), blowing mouth-organs, drumming and blowing fangufangu (nose flutes).

According to Professor Hufanga, Works has successfully transferred these ideas into his paintings such as The Guardian, The Explorer, King and Country, Sign of Times and Ikai ke tapu (Not Taboo).

Professor Hufanga opened Work’s exhibition by blowing the fangufangu. This was followed by an opening speech by the Director of the Mangere Arts Centre, James Pinker.

The main points

  • An exhibition of acrylic  painting by a South Auckland-based artist has been described as “unique”, “beautiful” and “new” according to a leading Tongan art scholar and academic.
  • Benjamin Works, who is of Tongan and Scottish heritage, showed his work at the Mangere Arts Centre in a public exhibition entitled: For the King and Country, that ran from October 16 to November 21.
  • Works mainly painted on board using red and black acrylic paint. The colours are particularly used in Tongan material arts and fine arts.
  • Professor Hufanga ‘Okusitino Mahina said Works’ art portrayed the same conflicting, but beautiful, ideas that were embedded by Tongan artists in the past.

For more information

For King and Country (Artweek)

Exhibition opening (Mangare Arts Centre)

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

Latest news

Related news