Frances Palu

Embraced or Rejected 2000
pandanus, paper, ink, raffia, paper, shells, on sand
Figure a) 110 x 150 cm
"The figures are comprised of woven fine mats traditionally worn as garments by Tongan people. The mats are symbols of Tongan artistry, achievement, history. They also stand as representations - self portraits - basically of how I see myself. The mats measurements are those of my own body. Once they are covered with paper, identity is hidden, out of reach - Koe otua mo Tonga ko haku tofi -a. Their placement on sand is a direct reference to the Tongan custom of burying the dead. Much of my work is actually about loss and grief."



Frances Palu
Born 1968
Frances Palu is of Tongan heritage and works in the fashion industry in Auckland. Palu's work references and incorporates Tonga's plaiting techniques, whilst exploring veiled knowledge and urban traditions and experiences. Palu is a mixed media artist and costume designer who has exhibited in numerous Pacific art exhibitions and fashion shows.
"I make art as a creative outlet for examining my own grief and grievances. Art provides me with a platform, to look inwards, to examine my own identity, that of being a Tongan woman, growing up in another place. Art enables me to maintain the skills of weaving, plaiting, papermaking; traditions that would have been passed on if I was living in Tonga, but which I have taught myself."

1 Embraced or Rejected 2000
Flax, recycled paper, woven panadanus, sennit, ink, raffia, paper, shells, sand
Figure a) 110 x 150 cm
Figure b) 150 x 138 cm
2 Ta'ovala 1997
Woven linen, feathers, raffia, butter muslin
200 x 200 cm

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