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The tropical wildlife and rich cultural heritage of my adopted homeland, Fiji, provide inspiration for much of the work I do as an artist. Although I grew up in the USA and Europe, I have now lived in Fiji longer than I have in any other place. The vibrant colours of our reefs and forests, along with the unique traditions that still strongly influence the everyday lives of my Fijian husband and his people, have had an enormous impact on my art.
Since starting out as a free-lance artist in 1997, my work continues to evolve, with water-based pigments on traditional Fijian barkcloth, and dyes with resists on natural silk being my media of choice. More recently I have been experimenting with three-dimensional works in clay, cement, and paper mache. The influence of Fijian culture and traditions resonate through much of my recent work, with the rhythmic, geometrical patterns and earthy tones of ancient barkcloth art finding an echo amidst the contemporary colours and forms that characterize my art. The vibrant colour combinations I often use in my silk paintings reflect back to a fascination with art by the European Expressionists of the early 20th century. Henri Matisse’s use of flat, bold shapes finds an echo in my work as well.
As an outsider finding her feet in a new culture, I know that first impressions eventually give way to deeper layers of meaning if one takes the time to look and understand. This is something I have increasingly explored in my art, using overlapping forms to show connections and challenge perceptions. I like weaving an open-ended element of abstract shapes into my compositions, inviting the viewer to interact with the artwork individually, forming their own, personal interpretation of what they see.
My paintings and relief sculptures can be seen on the walls of a wide range of resorts and corporate offices around Fiji, notably the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa, Treasure Island Resort, and the Pearl South Pacific Resort - as well as in numerous private collections both here and abroad. I have won awards in a range of national exhibitions here in Fiji, including First Prize in the ANZ Bank sponsored Fiji Arts Club Exhibition 2003 and First Runner Up in the 2009 National Fine Arts Exhibition staged by the Fiji Arts Council. My artwork featured in the May 2008 'Living in Fiji' magazine, as well as in a publication created for the launch of 'Vasu - Women of Power' collective at the University of the South Pacific in September 2008.
I live with my husband and three children just outside of Nadi in western Fiji. Our home-based art workshop, Sigavou Studios, has made a name for itself locally. We produce an extensive range of Limited Edition Originals hand-painted on barkcloth and silk which find a ready market within Fiji’s gift shops and resort boutiques. Art has become a way of life for our family, with much of our energies going toward the development of CreatiVITI, a charity supporting the growth and promotion of the arts in Fiji.
“Painting is a wonderful way of expressing my love of life and respect for Fiji’s uniqueness. In the fast-paced life of the 21st century, it is easy to become oblivious to the beauty hidden in our surroundings. My artwork seeks to rekindle in my own soul a sense of wonder in the small details of nature – the ordinary as well as the exotic. On a personal level, art has become a vehicle for exploring and celebrating that which give meaning to my life, for helping me to find my way through all the ups and downs of day-to-day living in this amazing country: Fiji! On a wider level, I see art as a tool for nation-building – it has a dynamic role to play as a vehicle for empowerment through income-generation, as a means of strengthening identity in an ever-changing world, and as a positive channel of communication in our fragmented society.”