Raymond Sagapolutele is an Aotearoa-born Sāmoan artist with family ties to the villages of Fatuvalu in Savai’i and Saluafata in Upolu, Samoa. He picked up the camera in 2003 and began a self- taught photography journey that would see him work with editorial publications Back to Basics and Rip It Up as a staff photographer as well as submissions to the NZ Herald and Metro Magazine. Sagapolutele completed his Masters in Visual Arts in 2019, with first-class honours and received the Deans Award for Excellence in Postgraduate study from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT).
Raymond was a finalist in the 2019 and 2020 Wallace Arts Award and a finalist in the 2019 Glaister Ennor Graduate Art Awards. He honed his style of documentary street photography as one of several photographers in the locally formed and internationally connected graffiti creative collective known as The Most Dedicated (TMD). Sagapolutele is also a founding member of the ManaRewa art collective based at Nathan Homestead in Manurewa and alongside senior members helps to tutor and support the local arts community.
For the artist, the camera has become a vital part of his ability to reconnect his art to his heritage as a diasporic Samoan with cultural ties that link him to the history of the Pacific and the land within that vast ocean. The camera is how his visual language is given a voice, the method that forms his oratory and connects to the Samoan tradition of Fagogo (storytelling).
Exhibitions and Workshops:
- 2022: Aotearoa Art Fair, Auckland; Aua e te fefe/Don’t be afraid, Bergman Gallery, Auckland.
- 2022: Fa’atasi, Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga; Te Atuitanga – Between our Cloak of Stars, Bergman Gallery, Auckland.
- 2021: Auckland Art Fair, Bergman Gallery; The Most Dedicated: An Aotearoa Graffiti Story, The Dowse Art Museum, Wellington, NZ.
- 2020: Pah Homestead, Wallace Art Awards: 15 September – finalists touring exhibition.
- 2020: Pah Homestead, Auckland Festival of Photography: 16 June – Unseen, Annual Commission.
- 2019: Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt, Germany: 25 August – Tofa si ou Tina, farewell, and conclusion to Grey is the New Pink.
- 2019: Pah Homestead, Wallace Art Awards: 4 September – Salon des Refusés.
- 2019: Sanderson Gallery: 28 July – Glaister Ennor Graduate Art Awards.
- 2019: Allpress Gallery: 30 May – Welcome Group Show.
- 2018: St Paul Street Gallery: 07 November – AD18 Visual Arts Graduating Exhibition.
- 2018: Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt, Germany: 25 October – Grey is the New Pink Group Show.
- 2018: Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga: 20 October – MPA #1 Group Show.
- 2018: Whitespace Gallery: 10 June – PACIFIC NOTION: 20 Years On – group show with Lianne Edwards, Niki Hastings-McFall, Ioane Ioane, Lily Laita & Kenneth Merrick.
- 2018: Allpress Gallery: 30 May – Meet You at Mercs Group Show (part of the core program for 2018 Auckland Photography Festival).
- 2018: Nathan Homestead: 24 February – This Is Love Group Show.
- 2017: Artstation Toi Tu: 1 June – Ata Te Tangata Group Show (part of the core program for 2017 Auckland Photography Festival).
- 2017: Allpress Gallery: 5 June – Loose Net Group Show (part of the core program for 2017 Auckland Photography Festival).
- 2017: Q Theatre Auckland: 9 March – Whanui Group Show as part of the 2017 Auckland Arts Festival.
- 2017: Nathan Homestead: 23 February – Aiga, Famili Group Show.
- 2017: Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple: 8-25 March – Whanui Project, Eye Spy Workshop facilitator.
- 2017: Otara Leisure Centre: 8-25 March – Whanui Project, Eye Spy Workshop facilitator.
- 2016: Nathan Homestead Manurewa: 17 November – Smile, Portrait of a Community, Photographic project.
- 2016: Hawkins Theatre Papakura: 16 November – Notes on Success, Solo show.
- 2016: Fresh Gallery Otara: 12 November – In Conversation, Artists talk.
- 2016: Fresh Gallery Otara: 20 October – TMD In the Frame, Curator and Group Show.
- 2016: Pingyao International Photography Festival, China – Ata Te Tangata Group Show.
- 2016: Nathan Homestead Manurewa: June 17 – Mana Moana Workshop Facilitator and Group Show.
- 2016: Auckland Art Gallery: 12 June – Talking Culture Artists Talk as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography.
- 2016: Otara Cube: 1 January – “Ia Manuia le Malaga” Solo show.
- 2015: Metro Theatre Mangere: 19 November – Pecha Kucha Auckland. Trying to be an Orator without using words.
- 2015: Car Wash Gallery/Artweek Auckland: 15 October – A Car Wash Photo Show.
- 2013: Kings College Art Sale – Contributing Artist.
- 2012: Reef Gallery: 2 June – 24 June BOUNTY BARS & COCONUT ROUGHS Group Show, part of the Auckland Festival of Photography.
- 2011: Fresh Gallery Auckland: 21 October – Pecha Kucha Auckland artists talk and review.
- 2010: Primary Flight, Art Basel Miami: 27 November – TMD mural project.
- 2010: Shed 6, Upper Deck: 21 October – THE MIAMI DREAM Group show.
- 2009: Fresh Gallery Otara: 1 October – HONEST?!? Solo show and Artists Talk curated by Ema Tavola.
- 2009: Telstra Events Centre Manukau: 28 April – Pecha Kucha Auckland, reflecting on life around Manukau City from a Brotographers point of view.
- 2007: Gallery With No Name: 09 November – VERSUS Joint show with Ben Clement.
- 2007: Artstation Ponsonby: 16 March – LOVE ME TENDER Group show.
- 2020: Auckland Festival of Photography 2020 Commission.
- 2019: Wallace Art Awards 2019 – Finalist.
- 2019: Glaister Ennor Graduate Art Awards – Finalist.
- 2019: Dean’s Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Study 2019.
- 2020 Auckland Festival of Photography Commission archive.
- 2019 James Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland.
- 2018 Weltkuturen Museum of Culture, Frankfurt, Germany.
- 2009 Manukau City Council Mangere Arts Centre.