The colourful, graphic works of Cairns-based artist Samuel Tupou incorporate the patterns of traditional Tongan tapa designs, rendered in high-key colour and industrial or mass-production materials such as silkscreen on PVC or acetate. Tupou’s works bring together retro and futuristic imagery, patterns, and colours to consider a past imagining of the future, from a contemporary perspective. Their seductive surfaces draw the viewer in, inviting them into conversation with the unusually juxtaposed cultural motifs in each work.
Tupou’s work was included in the exhibition, News From Islands at Campbelltown Arts Centre in Sydney. The exhibition featured 20 artists of Pacific Islander heritage, with 10 Australian and 10 international artists, and was a visual forerunner to our new found national engagement with all things Pacific. Tupou’s work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns; and Centre of Contemporary Art, Cairns.