Raymond Sagapolutele – Ma’umaga (diptych).
Raymond Sagapolutele, Ma’umaga (diptych). Giclee matte print laminated and mounted on dibond aluminium 1522x700mm per panel, 2021. Ed /3 + 2 ap.
Maumaga is part of the continued evolution of the artists’ practice that draws on Sagapolutele’s lived experience as an Aotearoan-born Samoan. Inspired by the overlayed taro leaves that are the staple part of the many maumaga (plantations) cared for by the artist’s Samoan family. The work reflects conversations and experiences of not just the plantation but the ecologies formed around the plantations, the Aumaga, or untitled men that are often caretakers of these spaces as an example. Sagapolutele has no title and serves his community as part of the Aumaga.
This work is foundational for Sagapolutele as the next step in the process of examining contexts relative to diasporic Samoan art practices, incorporating a new framework, maumaga, as a way to examine the passing on of knowledge and nurturing and caring for the communities that this it is drawn from.
Maumaga draws on the motifs that sit central to the artists’ practice, the use of the black to embody the Samoan concept of vā, relational space, and the skulls that are ancestor metaphors – reminders of ancestry and connection to the past. The artist sits within this work as the anchor to the contemporary world drawing on heritage in this plantation that is as old as he is and older than anything he has known. This is the start of a new journey for Sagapolutele as he looks to expand on the concepts of Maumaga by applying to AUT as a Ph.D. candidate and evolving further the diasporic Samoan art concepts started with his post-graduate research.