Tuvalu’s Lakiloko Keakea wins Pacific Heritage Arts Award
Tuvalu-born Lakiloko Keakea was one of six Pasifika award winners at the 2017 Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards.
Since arriving in New Zealand in 1996, she has become one of Aotearoa’s most renowned exponents of Pasifika handcrafts.
After learning handcrafts in Tuvalu, she moved to Kiribati in 1971 where she learned kolose (crochet) through a church-based women’s group, making crocheted dresses and tiputa (crochet tops).
Moving back to Tuvalu Keakea joined the Fakapotopotoga Fafine Tuvalu [women’s arts group]. The group included women from all the island groups in Tuvalu, each of whom shared the knowledge and expertise of art practices distinct to their island.
In the 1970s three women from the group travelled to the Marshall Islands and brought back the star-shaped design and techniques used in making fafetu (star-shaped wall hangings). This knowledge informed Keakea’s practice, which she brought back to Aotearoa and shared with other artists and audiences at exhibitions such as the critically acclaimed Home AKL exhibition of Pacific art in 2012.
The other Pasifika award winners are:
- Tongan opera singer Filipe Manu [Iosefa Enari Memorial Award]
- Samoan dancer Tupua Tigafua [Emerging Artist Award]
- Noma Sio-Faiumu, [Special Recognition Award]
- Kalisolaite Uhila [Contemporary Pacific Artist Award]
- Nina Nawalowalo [Senior Pacific Artist Award]