Raymond Sagapolutele, MI EMOJI
Raymond Sagapolutele is an Aotearoa-born Sāmoan artist with ties to the villages of Fatuvalu in Savai'i and Saluafata in Upolu, Samoa. His photographic practice focuses on his heritage as a diasporic Sāmoan, with cultural ties to the history of the Pacific and the lands within Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa. In his hands, the camera gains a voice and forms an oratory which connects to the cherished Samoan tradition of Fagogo (storytelling)
Sagapolutele has exhibited his artwork widely both locally and internationally and has contributed to publications ranging from Back to Basics and Rip It Up to the NZ Herald and Metro Magazine. He is a founding member of the ManaRewa art collective based at Nathan Homestead in Manurewa where he helps to tutor and support the local arts community. He is also a member of the graffiti art collective, TMD, a creative family of artists located in Aotearoa, Australia and Germany.
Sagapolutele completed his Master of Visual Arts (first-class hons) at AUT in 2019, receiving the Deans Award for Excellence in Postgraduate study. He was also showcased in the 2019 Wallace Arts Award and was a finalist in the 2019 Glaister Ennor Graduate Art Awards. In 2020 he was a gain a finalist in the Wallace Art awards and this year was a finalist in the Waikato Museum’s National Contemporary Art Awards.