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Self-taught Samoan artist Alex Mate Tuaoi to hold first solo exhibition ‘Inspire’ in Brisbane

Tana Umaga 121cm x 92cm Acrylic on Canvas

Brisbane-based artist Alex Mate Tuaoi is getting ready to hold his very first Solo Exhibition at Able Gallery in Brisbane this weekend.

Born and raised in Wainuiomata in Wellington, New Zealand, Alex has been passionate about art since he was a young boy. He is a self-taught artist who enjoys painting with acrylics, painting wildlife – especially lions – abstract and contemporary art and portraiture.

Alex is a humble man of few words, but says he is inspired by having the freedom to express himself through art. “You know when you’re in your sanctuary when you find peace, and nothing can distract you.” That sanctuary is something Alex has admirably made time for, working on the paintings around a physically demanding full-time job as a delivery truck driver, often on 10-12 hour shifts.

Alex has previously showcased his artworks in group exhibitions in Wellington, Sydney and Brisbane, but this is the first time he will hold a solo exhibition, of which the title and theme is ‘Inspire’. Many paintings are a reflection of the people Alex grew up admiring and watching on TV as a young kid in Wainuiomata. In two such paintings, bold portraits of rugby legends Tana Umaga (who also grew up in Wainuiomata) and Jono Lomu stand out against a backdrop of their respective Pacific Island flags. Inspirational figures like these, Alex says, enabled him to believe he could make his childhood dreams come true – to fill a gallery with his own artworks.

LOMU. Acrylic on Canvas. 122cm x 91cm. Alex Mate Tuaoi

The exhibition also includes Pacific Island contemporary paintings reflecting his Samoan culture, such as the taupou (ceremonial hostess) and the pe’a, the traditional Samoan tatau for men. His Christian upbringing is reflected in the exhibition too. “Being a Pacific Islander, we were encouraged to go to church, which was part of our lifestyle and still is today.” Faith in God has always been an influence in Alex’s life, represented in the portrait of Jesus titled “He Paid the Price”.

TATAU. Acrylic on Canvas. 122cm x 91cm. Alex Mate Tuaoi
PRECIOUS DAUGHTERS. Acrylic on Canvas. 122cm x 91cm. Alex Mate Tuaoi

It’s clear a lot of heart and soul has gone into the 16 artworks filling the exhibition, all of which will be available to purchase online via a silent auction. Alex and wife, Fayth, hope the auction will also make a difference in their community; a portion of the funds for any work will be donated to R U OK Australia in support of suicide prevention and mental health awareness, and to Australian Gynaecological Cancer Foundation in support of uterine cancer awareness. Alex’s wife Fayth is currently battling uterine cancer, hence this charity is dear to their hearts.

HE PAID THE PRICE. Acrylic on Canvas. 122cm x 91cm. Alex Mate Tuaoi

‘Inspire’ Solo Exhibition will be held at Able Gallery, 27 Coral Street, Loganlea, Brisbane, Australia from Sunday 10th November until Monday 18th November.
A link to the silent auction can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2418092551841696/

ALEXIA. Acrylic on Canvas. 150cm x 100cm. Alex Mate Tuaoi

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