Ioane Ioane

Occupying the space between, Ioane Ioane’s multidisciplinary practice acknowledges the spiritual and transitional nature of va.

Occupying the space between, Ioane Ioane's multidisciplinary practice acknowledges the spiritual and transitional nature of va. Ioane completed a Bachelor of Fine Art from Elam School of Fine Art, The University of Auckland in 1985. In 1996 Ioane, was the finalist for the Saatchi and Saatchi Art Awards and in 2005 he was awarded the Creative New Zealand Prize for Innovation and Excellence Art Award. As well as recieving a number of public commisions, his work belongs in a number of private and public collections including the Cambridge Museum of Anthropology, England, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland, Tijibou Cultural Centre Noumea.

Based in Auckland, Ioane's multidiscipline practice involves sculpture, painting, installation and performance and often acknowledges the spiritual and transitional nature of space (the va) as a place of transformation-birth and becoming. Ioane has commented, "Sacred spaces are not necessarily a church, but it's a place where one likes to be in, a place of affirmation Resisting the label 'artist'" Ioane insists, "life is too big and deep to consider what I do as being about art or describe myself in a singular way". Instead, he regards his four children as both the greatest joy and creative contribution he has made to the world. As they grow, making their own contribution, Ioane has been able to devote more time to his work. Creating new collaborations and the potential for public art projects, theatre set designs, scriptwriting and film.
Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust

Cowry shell, 2021, Totara wood sculpture, natural varnish, 85 x 70 x 40cm, 30kg

The strength and beauty of the cowry shell inspired the shape of these sculptures. "Malosi" (strength in Samoan) is most often seen, or portrayed, as the physicality of the male...The reality of soul-strength lies predominantly in women. If men are receptive, they too can find the strength of their women ancestors - the woman-spirit in all. Why else would nature be "mother"?' 
(from The Guide, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2001) 

It’s a celebration of the strength of women, from childhood through maturity to old age and has echoes of Samoan mythological stories. The cowry shell can also be seen lashed to Ioane's Fe'e paopao (Octopus canoe), recalling an ancient legend of how the octopus got its spots from a cheeky mouse.