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'INASI Exhibition by Visesio Siasau, Serene Tay with assistance of Lo'au University

22154343 1933354010262288 316203333060788165 nINASI Exhibition by Tongan-New Zealanders Visesio Siasau and beloved partner Serene Tay with the assistance of Lo'au University went successfully and beautifully in the past four days at Tonga Cultural Centre in Tofoa. It was officially opened on Friday 29 of September by Lord Vaea of Houma - Chairperson of His Majesty Traditional Committee, Keynote Speech by Professsor Siosiua Lafitani of Lo'au University, Speech by HE Sarah Walsh of the New Zealand High Commission, Speeches by Visesio Siasau and Serene Tay, and Prayer by Fr Nailoni Mafi of Nuku'alofa Catholic Church.

The Exhibition was concluded on Monday 2 of October.

The Opening Speech in English focused on Captain James Cook and his visits to the Kingdom in which he observed and experienced the INASI Ceremony of the Tu'i Tonga Empire. The Keynote Speech in Tongan unfolded INASI as an ancient ceremony of presenting the 'first fruits' and the 'best' of everything to the Tu'i Tonga with conjunction to the ancient Ha'a (Lineages) and Kupesi (Geometric Pattern). 

 The 200 years since The Voyage of James Captain Cook was also acknowledged by Sarah Walsh and also in the Opening Speech of Lord Vaea.

Public Forums by Professor Lafitani, Siasau, Sosefo 'Otutaha and Tomasi Taifonoifua were conducted on Friday and Saturday. Faikava on Sunday and further discussion regarding countless interrelated issues to the INASI Exhibition on Monday.

The MATA/EYES/ESSENCE of the Exhibition:

The works created for this art exhibition are the manifestation of 'Inasi through the landscape of Tongan Contemporary Art as a point of our existence.

His recent works are geometric, minimalist, black on black and red on red paintings that aim to trigger simultanous connection between the mind, matter and heart. Their inky blackness and vibrating alludes to ancient systems and interpretation of creativity. The 'voiding' is a place of vibrating potential, where time and human connections are meaningless, where everything, including man and his fragment of invented time, is part of all else. Siasau's use of an abstract images focuses the viewer's attention on the painting's surface. A parttern fills the canvas, emphasising its flatness does of our Tongan universe not deny an illussion of depth.

"In my view as a Tongan, the Tongan Cosmogony amalgamates the art and science of our cosmogenesis, this is known as vava tapu or sacred space. The formless space of darkness that is signified by the colour black, within this space is the energy, vibration and unlimited potential of chaos and harmony. 'Uli 'i he 'uli and kula 'i he kula are the black on black and red on red paintings are created from intangible knowledge of the vava tapu

 'Uli expresses the mnemonics of my consciousness which stems from the knowledge of relatedness, a product of metaphorical association that is imbued within Tongan language , signs and symbols.

This painting series emerges from the wier context of my international research as a continuation of rigorous research into ancient Tongan knowledge.

My work is an interaction of traditional materials and ideologies with contemporary technologies and philosophies, that become the dynamic system of my art practice."

 Siasau's Profile:

He won the Wallace Arts Trust Paramount Award (2015) this included being based at the Brooklyn International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP). Siasau has held Art Residencies and presented his work on Tongan Art and Philosophy in Europe, America, China, Taiwan, New Zealand, Solomon Islands and here in Tongatapu.  

 In 2016, Whilst presenting at the Pacific Arts Association in Norwich University England, he attended the Artefacts of Encounter: Cook's Voyages, Colonial Collecting and Museum Histories at the Mesuem of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Furthermore, this gave him the opportunity to share talanoa and speak to many of the Oceanic Art curators, including the Oxford Musuem curator in regards to the Tongan art collected by Captain James Cook and other voyages to the Pacific. He is a now one of the new doctoral students of Lo'au University.

Siasau presented his work at The Metropolitan Musuem of Art, where he was invited to sho the ngatu ta 'uli (black marked barkcloth) that will also be presented at The Tongan Cultural Centre. 

 The Exhibition was funded by New Zealand High Commission and TONGA Breweries.