Samuel Tupou

Observing Patterns

22 October - 27 November 2021

Samuel Tupou is a Brisbane based artist specialising in screen-printing. He creates artworks that respond to his Tongan and Polynesian heritage, incorporating patterns derived from and inspired by traditional Pacific Island Tapa cloth design. Observing Patterns is Samuel Tupou’s first solo exhibition at Logan Art Gallery.

The exhibition investigates geometry and colour, with a focus on human memory, image recall and recurring patterns within generations of family. This body of work is based on ‘found photographs’ from Sam’s personal family albums and digital photo libraries. The original photographs are obscured by pixelation and bound together with grid-like patterns based on Pacific Island Tapa cloth design. Whilst the resulting images are heavily abstracted, the essence of the original photograph – a captured moment in time – remains embedded within the painting, and can be revealed with distance and physical proximity.

“Tupou blends the history of our island with his personal history…. Nowadays, the family album filled with photographs taken with Polaroid or disposable cameras, is a thing of the past. Instead, our memories are completely digitised on our Facebook walls and Instagram grids…Tupou’s collection returns us to those moments of temporality yet pixelates them, colours them to pop-art brightness, and uses the patterns so common of ngatu.”
– Winnie Dunn [catalogue essay writer]