Motherland Homeland

Motherland Homeland, installation view. In frame: Pilimilose Manu, Siliga David Setoga, 'Uhila Moe Langi Nai, Monica Paterson.Courtesy of Cheska Brown.  

Motherland Homeland, installation view. 

In frame: Pilimilose Manu, Siliga David Setoga, 'Uhila Moe Langi Nai, Monica Paterson.

Courtesy of Cheska Brown.


8 Jul – 2 Sep 2023

Emily Parr, Monica Paterson, Pilimilose Manu, Siliga David Setoga, 'Uhila Moe Langi Nai

Motherland Homeland brings together the work of Pilimilose Manu, 'Uhila Moe Langi Nai, Emily Parr, Monica Paterson and Siliga David Setoga, curated by Bonni Luafutu-Tamati.

Image: Monica Paterson, Divine Encounters 2, 2019. Courtesy of the



Motherland Homeland is what we remember, what we forget, and what that says about who we are today. The exhibition brings together five Moana artists navigating their relationship to place and history, how their sense of belonging has been shaped, and the possibility of joy as a guiding value. Motherland Homeland creates a relational space to contemplate who we are and what we might take with us into the future.

The first configuration of Motherland/Homeland took place at HOEA! Whare Whakaatu Toi, a gallery in Turanganui-a-Kiwa centred on the exhibition of Māori, Moana and Indigenous art. The exhibition brought together a group of artists curated by Bonni Luafutu-Tamati (Operations Manager, Samoa House Library), supported by the HOEA! Whare Whakaatu Toi signature maximal exhibition design which focuses on creating a widely accessible audience experience. Motherland/Homeland provided space for artists to deconstruct what it means to be an ‘Islander’ living in Aotearoa through a tuakana-teina curatorial approach, where established and emerging artists could show side by side, emboldened through the kaupapa of HOEA! which privileges whanaungatanga over individualism.

Motherland Homeland comes to Enjoy in its second formation as part of an ongoing relationship of knowledge and resource sharing between Samoa House Library, HOEA! Whare Whakaatu Toi, and Enjoy Contemporary Art Space. Collectively, the spaces are working to create new, supportive and accessible ways of working within the arts for artists and arts organisations.

Curated by Bonni Luafutu-Tamati

About the artists

Pilimilose Manu
Pilimilose Manu is a multi-disciplinary artist of Tongan descent, based in Tāmaki Makaurau.  He teaches art at secondary level, specialising in the field of photography and moving-image. Manu graduated with a Master of Visual Arts (First Class Honours) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching from Auckland University of Technology. In 2016 Limi started teaching art at Aorere College where he taught for 5 years before becoming the Head of Art at his old high school, Liston College, in 2021.

Manu’s practice is a personal exploration of Tauhi Vā (Tauhi - Nurture, and Vā - relational space) and cultural values in relation to traditional and westernised influences, as they are received by Pacific people. The Vā is not a void or an empty space, but a space where things meet; where ideals relate (Wendt, 1996) or the differences between - a buoyance of differences rising, emerging, and merging. Manu negotiates positions from which to engage with the world, and in turn explores how one’s outlook on the world might emerge or unfold over time. 

'Uhila Moe Langi Nai
‘Uhila Moe Langi Nai is a multi-disciplinary artist with roots in Tāmaki Makaurau and Pelehake, Tonga. Her practice focuses on the Tongan koloa tu‘ufonua ‘oku ‘iloa ko ia koe ngatu mo e kupesi (collection of women’s wealth known as tapa cloth and embroidered stencil). Nai explores kupesi belonging to her village, Pelehake, that holds and carries the history and story of her ancestors. Through this, Nai attempts to trace back the origin of these most valuable koloa to the time of her great-grandmothers.

Nai’s practice also looks at the Tongan term ‘heliaki’, a metaphorical language of ‘to say one thing but mean another.” For Nai, kupesi is a heliaki but in forms and shapes, prompting her to consider the knowledge and wisdom embedded in their design and creation. Her practice also takes interest in the relationship between herself and the elders’ specialised knowledge and skills within their koloa (women’s wealth). 

Emily Parr
Emily Parr (Ngāi Te Rangi, Moana, Pākehā) is an artist living in Tāmaki Makaurau. Her moving-image practice weaves through time and space, exploring systems of relation emerging from Te Moananui-a-Kiwa. Emily’s master’s research on settler-indigenous relationships traverses oceans and centuries, seeking stories in archives and waters on haerenga to her ancestral homelands of Tauranga Moana, Sāmoa and Tonga. Her current doctoral project considers the responsibilities she has inherited through her ancestral legacies and, in particular, to her family’s collection held by museums. She is also part of the Vā Moana cluster at Auckland University of Technology and is a research associate with Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Monica Paterson
Monica Paterson is a painter living in Tāmaki Makaurau with her husband and two teenage girls. She studied art, fabric design and graphic design across Unitec and Auckland University of Technology. Paterson has exhibited extensively, and her work can be found in many private collections. She was Artist in Residence at Corbans Art Estate (Tāmaki Makaurau), and recently participated in the Glasgow Street Residency (Whanganui). 

Paterson’s work focuses on a female-centric narrative that connects to her mother’s Samoan lineage using imagery and colour that is inspired by her love of Pacific art. The bold, vibrant and sometimes chaotic scenes in her work are influenced by her interest in folk art and love of illustration. Paterson’s work stems from myths, dreams or tales told and passed on. The painterly female subjects are goddesses, ghosts or family long lost. Themes of love and connection are interwoven into the narratives throughout her work. 

Siliga David Setoga
Siliga David Setoga (Lona i Fagaloa, Tulaele & Vaitele i Faleata, Vailoa Palauli, Si'ufaga Fa'asaleleaga, Lauli'i, Letogo & Vailele i Vaimauga, Tanugamanono i Apia) was born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau, after his parents migrated to Aotearoa in the 1960s. Setoga graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in 2013, majoring in Performance, from Whitecliffe College of Art and design. In 2022, he graduated with a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary), and is currently teaching at Otahuhu College in Visual Arts and Technology where he hopes to inspire the next generation of artmakers, thinkers and tutu-ers.

Setoga’s practice focuses on Aotearoa based Pacific experiences. His work has been exhibited widely and in several significant exhibitions, with work held in the British Museum Collection, Te Papa o Tongarewa, Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Christchurch Art Gallery. Setoga was a part of the Savage K’lub which performed at the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial, and was the Creative New Zealand Artist in Residence in conjunction with the National University of Samoa in 2015.

Setoga and his wife operate a screen printing and design company, The business started by selling t-shirts at a fleamarket in Otara, Tāmaki Makaurau, in the early 2000s, and is now exclusively online.

Bonni Luafutu-Tamati
Bonni Luafutu-Tamati (Aleipata, Maleimalu, Satalo, Sasatele, Vailuutai, Saleimoa, Lepa ma Poutasi - Falealili) is an artist and storyteller working in relationship with her Samoan heritage and radical upbringing in Te Wai Pounamu, Aotearoa. Luafutu-Tamati describes her curatorial approach as responsive and accessible “a reflex to belonging and longing that she hopes opens dialogue and change.” Luafutu-Tamati was born in Ōtautahi and raised by migrant parents active in their Pasifika community. She then lived in Africa, Kaikoura and eventually Auckland where she is raising her family. 

Luafutu-Tamati recently brought together a group of artists in the project Motherland/Homeland and led wānanga at HOEA! Whare Whakaatu Toi as part of this series of exhibitions. Luafutu-Tamati is Operations Manager at Samoa House Library and coordinates public programming there.