Work by ASCC Artist Meredith-Fitiao Exhibited in San Francisco
August 19, 2016
By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer
Although American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Visual Artist Regina Meredith-Fitiao of the College’s Fine Arts Department has returned home for the start of the fall 2016 semester, several of her artworks will remain on display until September 9th as part of “Deep Blue Sea: String of Pearls,” a painting, drawing and sculpture exhibition by The North Star Artists and artist friends hosted by the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts in San Francisco, California.
Meredith-Fitiao, along with her husband and fellow artist Su’a Tupuola Uilisone Fitiao, also featured in the exhibition, attended the opening of the event in early August. “Opening night was very exciting, as Reverend Tautalaaso Faaleava of the First Samoan Congregational Church was present to bless the event, along with his youth group Malamalama O le Ola, who did a spectacular job entertaining the crowd in Samoan style,” she said.
In keeping with the exhibit’s theme of Pacific cross-cultural contemporary art, showcased pieces by Su’a and Meredith-Fitiao included two large paintings, vintage and new siapo pieces, and photographs. “Su’a’s painting ‘5'x5' Folauga I le Afiafi’ debuted for the first in the U.S. and received much attention along with his siapo mamanu works,” said Meredith-Fitiao. “My own current works included a large painting of the Foaga in Fagalele and a new siapo series called ‘Kuu faakasi Juntos (Together Together),’ which is a fusion of Samoan and Mexican motifs juxtaposed as a means to a self portrait. This set of five small mixed media was installed above a siapo tasiga called ‘Great Grandma's Board,’ a siapo elei made with my late Auntie Lagi Lealaitafea. The power in the piece, created by three generations, was attractive to many who were not familiar with siapo elei.”
The work of Sekio Fuapopo, another son of American Samoa, also features prominently in the exhibit. Born in Utulei in 1947, and then raised and educated in California, Fuapoo visited home at 17 to spend time with his painter grandmother, Lita, in Leone. He has since reflected the influence of the traditions of art and culture in his heritage. Today, Fuapopo is a mainstay of the Bay Area collective known as North Star Artists, along with John Rampley, George Duran and George Shuey. Other participating artists in the current exhibition include Gabrielle Belz, Paula Clark, Steve Gibbs, Mike Rios, and Shirod Younker.
Meredith-Fitiao reflected that show’s blending of Pacific elements with the Latino influence of the US west coast held a special significance for her as symbolc of her own Samoan-Mexican heritage. Now back home and in the initial stages of a new semester, she expressed an ongoing enthusiasm for future events similar to “Deep Blue Sea: String of Pearls.” “It’s a privilege and an honor to be called upon by these artists to come together and showcase with them,” she said. “When we put our works together, they were beautiful and the dynamics of the show came through its diversity.”
The ASCC Fine Arts Department offers a full array of courses in traditional and modern art. For more information on these classes, see the College’s 2016-2018 Catalog, available online at www.amsamoa.edu.