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Exhibition Talk | ‘Avea: Visesio Siasau and the old gods of Tonga
August 27, 2017 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Visesio Siasau, Fa (Number 4) Black On Black (2017), acrylic and oil on canvas
Join Scott Hamilton, PhD, as he discusses the work of Visesio Siasau, who is featured in two current exhibitions at the Arts Centre. Hamilton’s interest in Tongan art was sparked during the two years he spent living and teaching in Tonga. Hamilton has published more than a dozen essays about Tongan and Pacific art for EyeContact, including one brilliantly written piece on Siasau, which can be read here.
Visesio Siasau is a painter and sculptor whose portrayal of the ancient Gods and culture heroes of Polynesia have won his acclaim in the West and criticism from some conservatives in his homeland of Tonga. Scott Hamilton lived in Tonga with Siasau in 2013. He will talk about the research trips he made to ancient sites in the kingdom with Siasau, and the influence these journeys had on Siasau’s art.
Scott Hamilton grew up in South Auckland and earned a PhD in Sociology from the University of Auckland in 2008. His thesis, a study of the English historian EP Thompson, was published by Manchester University Press in 2011 under the title The Crisis of Theory. In 2010 Hamilton published Private Bestiary, an annotated collection of previously unknown writings by the great New Zealand poet Kendrick Smithyman.
In 2013 he lived and taught in Tonga, and began to write about that country. Hamilton’s essay ‘Marching and Fighting in the Friendly Islands’ was a runner-up in Landfall’s best essay competition in 2014. With the help of a D’Arcy Residency on Waiheke Island Hamilton wrote The Stolen Island, a study of a nineteenth century slave raid on Tonga that was published to acclaim by Bridget Williams in late 2016. Hamilton’s ‘Homage to Tongan Poets’ was included in the Best New Zealand Poems of 2016 anthology. In 2015, after returning from Tonga, Hamilton received the inaugural Auckland Mayoral Writers Award to help him finish his book about the Great South Road. Hamilton’s blog, Reading the Maps, has had more than half a million visitors over the last decade, and he has appeared often in the media to discuss cultural and historical issues.